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DR DOLITTLE 2 (article first published : 2003-01-3)

Eddie Murphy returns on M-Net (January 5 at 20h00) as the doctor who can talk to the animals, in Dr Dolittle 2, the sequel to the 1998 comedy blockbuster- Dr Dolittle.

In Dr Dolittle 2, the now-famous doc has more patients- two-legged and four-legged - than he can handle. But his animal friends want more than office visits. This time, they decide to get more organised and launch a labour strike to protect their forest from unscrupulous human developers. Dolittle quickly comes up with a plan: populate the forest with a species of animal that the law protects.

He decides to find an endangered species male and a female. He finds a lonely endangered Pacific Western Bear (Ava) living in the condemned forest and Archie, a city-dwelling, wise-cracking, fast food-loving, circus-performing bear. Dolittle and his dog Lucky head to the forest to try and teach Archie the ways of the wild. Unfortunately, it's hardly a love connection for the mismatched bears, as Ava is unimpressed by Archie's bumbling antics. And Lucky's love life with a local wolf isn't faring much better.

This sequel is packed in a few good laughs and a politically correct lesson on wildlife preservation. In the film, Murphy seems to have traded in his adult-oriented comedy of the past (Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours) for one that appeals to a younger audience. In Dr Dolittle 2, Murphy is funny and comfortable enough in his role as the doctor who can talk to creatures big and small, but it is the animals that generate the biggest laughs. Smooth-talking Joey the Raccoon, voiced by Michael Rapaport (Men of Honor), positively steals the show and the voices of (Lisa Kudrow) who plays the endangered bear Ava, add more humour to the film.

A grown-up Raven Simone (The Cosby Show) returns to her role as Charisse Dolittle and is convincing enough as the brooding, rebellious teenager fed up with animals clambering up her balcony and vying for her father's attention.




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