Dr. Dolittle 2

Eddie Murphy is at it again, talking to the animals. (Maybe he's the only one who can understand them, but take note of the fact that they are also forced to listen to him.) His cinematic romp in search of an urban bear, long acclimatized to the bright lights of the sideshow (a kind of comedic comrade), involves a desperate attempt to mate a member of an endangered species with a rural beauty (barely credible) and plays along a paper-thin excuse for ecological plot-line.

The animals once again take on ethnic color as they reveal their hidden facility for making jokes. Eddie seems right at home in an ambiance where animals come at his beck and call and he doesn't have to worry about a captive audience. Not only the bears, but wolves, giraffes, weasels, chameleons, tortoises, possums, raccoons, dogs, and owls are on their toes (or whatever appendages they sport) listening to the words of their language-link to the human species.

The mandatory toilet humor for such a film includes Eddie and Archie bear trapped among fumes of a restaurant toilet together as well as Eddie's professional "medical" description of intestinal hibernation plug. (Kinky bears.) Of course, it will probably be the good doctor who laughs most of all, considering that the 1998 remake (with Murphy appearing for the first time in the role previously portrayed by Rex Harrison) grossed over $290 million and this EM sequel will probably do likewise. That ain't no hogfeed.

But this sequel is also a family drama (or so it pretends). Watching the Darwinian evolution of Mr. Murphy as he turns into a creature making a new millennium bid for the Cosby-family-lookalike suddenly gives a new appeal and impetus to both animal activists and animal activists either organizing or setting up a strike.

After viewing this menagerie, the new censorship board might seriously consider extending their coded symbols to include a new category restricting specific films for anyone over ten years of age.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett