The reviews are in on the fantasy-adventure film about the guy who’s a literal animal whisperer, and the reviews are not good. But what exactly is wrong with the movie?
For one thing – there’s no shortage of bad jokes, as Variety writes:
“What should have been an awe-filled adventure quickly curdles into an awful one, thanks to a pedestrian formula and the filmmakers’ fixation on fart jokes.”
But it goes way deeper than that.
The Atlantic‘s David Sims has a fun review of Dolittle, and spares no expense in explaining how terrible Robert Downey, Jr. is as the title role — a guy who lives and communicates with animals (who are all CGI):
“Then there’s Downey Jr., who hasn’t appeared in a non-Marvel film since 2014’s The Judge. To shake off his past decade of work as the beloved Tony Stark, he has settled on a performance that can only be described as anti-charming; he’s more of a collection of tics and grunts than a human being.”
According to Sims, it sounds like a combination of things that contribute to Downey Jr.’s completely awful performance – part of it is his bad accent, part of it is apparently because he couldn’t care less.
“His Welsh accent is absurd—when it’s audible. More often than not, Downey Jr. looks bored, unamused by the CGI antics swirling around him, and even less interested in whatever flimsy action he’s supposed to be driving forward.
He may be able to talk to the animals, but the good doctor should have talked to a competent screenwriter, or perhaps just to his agent, before getting embroiled in a mess like this one.”
Critics are also saying that a lot of Downey Jr.’s dialogue appears to have been dubbed, which goes along with another narrative that there were last-minute edits done throughout the movie.
Rob Harvilla of The Ringer wrote: “All his dialogue sounds dubbed; most of it is quite difficult to make out. Maybe wait until you can watch this movie with subtitles.”
Maybe it wasn’t all his fault — many critics have said the visuals are great. So is it possible that much of the crew’s energy was directed toward making sure the animals look good, and not as much on whether Downey Jr. — who’s been Tony Stark for years — could handle this role? He was Iron Man, surely he can do this??
Apparently he can’t.