Written by Fantasma el Rey
Did you know that Dr. Dolittle’s daughter, Maya can speak to animals just like her dad? Did you know that they even made a Dr. Dolittle 4? Do you care? I don’t, not really, but I gave it a spin after agreeing to take part in a prank exchange of likely bad movies for April Fool’s Day and found an interesting element. That’s right, just one.
The fourth installment of the Dr. Dolittle franchise has Eddie Murphy two films gone and Kyla Pratt taking the lead as his daughter Maya. In Dr. Dolittle: Tail To The Chief we find young Maya lending a helping hand to the tree-hugging President of The United States (Peter Coyote) to deal with his rebellious dog, Daisy. The First Dog is going through a crisis and is lashing out like a wild teenager and disrupting meetings and dinners. The Prez is out of solutions and calls in the big dog, well the next best thing, big dog’s daughter. Little does Maya know that she will end up bringing a family together and saving the Rainforest.
After a brief stay at the White House, they are all off to the President’s vacation estate and that’s where all the usual hi-jinks begin. Maya does her best but Daisy won’t give in and stop her evil ways which are usually followed by tired exit lines such as “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.” Yeah, they come across like that snotty sitcom pre-teen that you want to kick. Daisy even turns the rest the animals on the estate against Maya, another plot point seen before. Yet our heroine doesn’t give up, and after a pep talk on how our greatest thinkers and heroes all failed at some point, she valiantly pushes forward. Eventually she gets through to Daisy, who confides in Maya her reasons for acting out. While the Prez talks to Maya he keeps beginning his sentences with “Did you know,” which she then uses in her speech to the animals of the compound. Yes, both times it gets annoying and will pop up from time to time throughout the movie.
Maya also gets into the head of the President’s teenage daughter who is disgruntled as well about the change in life style due to being the first family. The young women find they have much in common and become fast friends and along with the handsome young intern manage to foil a plot to destroy the rain forest. One of the animals stumbles on to the wicked plan and informs Maya who with her new friends is able to alert the President in time to save the day. What a saga! And all neatly rolled into an hour and a half that manages to end with every one out on the dance floor shakin’ what their mama’s gave ‘em.
As for me I found Dr. Dolittle: Tail To The Chief to be simply like the rest of the movie sequels that continue far too long, trying for the same lame laughs that we see over and over again in film and television. The movie has talking animals doing and saying cute things that are meant to be funny but weren’t, and well-to-do teenagers acting out with someone to set them straight. The same kids that find the majority of Disney television shows funny may get some giggles here as well. I give credit to Twentieth Century Fox for making an effort to put out good-hearted and clean-storied films for our young. If kids come away with an interest in the Rainforest and exotic animals, then something good was achieved.
Speaking of exotic animals the DVD contains an all-too-short featurette concerning the location on which the movie was filmed: a unique place run by the Mountain View Conservation Society. The Canadian-based society’s focus is endangered animals and breeding them properly for re-release back into their natural habitat. Lemurs and giraffes run the grounds along with birds and large hyena like wild dogs. You can check their web site for more info on tours and other interesting facts. I had a better time there than with the movie.
The remainder of the DVD extras are quick featurettes on the actors working with animals and how they feel about that. So go check the website and skip the flick, unless of course you’re a big Dolittle fan, in which case you’ll be glad to know that another film is supposedly in the works.