A terrible Robert Downey Jr. movie is blowing up on streaming right now. January 2020 saw the release of the Iron Man actor’s much-anticipated first project since saying goodbye to the MCU, but despite the hype and the familiar IP, the Universal family film ended up stinking to high heaven. Nevertheless, HBO Max subscribers are currently lapping up the pic. Yes, people are voluntarily watching Dolittle.
Ignoring the modern day approach of the fondly remembered Eddie Murphy films, Dolittle goes back to the original novel by Hugh Lofting and stars Downey Jr. as an eccentric veterinarian living in Victorian England who’s tasked with voyaging across the world to find a magical fruit in order to save the life of the poisoned Queen Victoria. Accompanying him on his journey are a menagerie of talking animals, including Poly the parrot (Emma Thompson), Chee-Chee the gorilla (Rami Malek), polar bear Yoshi (John Cena), duck Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer) and faithful pooch Jip (Tom Holland).
Despite all the talent involved, though, the film just didn’t come together. After poor test screenings, Dolittle was subjected to significant reshoots, with director Stephen Gaghan replaced, it’s been reported, due to his lack of experience with a high-budgeted heavy CGI production. Unfortunately, even this couldn’t save it, and the flick was met with widespread negative reviews and considered a box office bomb – though the subsequent pandemic shutting down cinemas means it snuck into the year’s highest-grossing releases.
But hey, if you know it’s not going to be the best movie ever and you’re willing to accept Downey Jr.’s bizarre Welsh-esque accent as the titular doctor, then you might be able to have a good time with Dolittle, especially if watching with young kids. And folks must be doing just that, as it’s currently sitting as the eighth most popular film on HBO Max this Tuesday, February 16th. If you fancy it, go find it on the streamer now.
Robert Downey Jr. will next be seen in long-delayed sports comedy-drama All-Star American, starring Jamie Foxx, when it comes out sometime this year.