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Dr. Dolittle 2

IT IS a tough job, all right. The victims are helpless four legged creatures. The villains — some humans who want to destroy their home — the jungle. Who do the animals seek during such times of crisis? But of course Dr. Dolittle (Eddie Murphy).

When the doctor first appeared on screen in 1998, he became famous more for his tete-a-tete with four-legged creatures than his healing powers. But the second time round, the critters want more than some medical advice. They want Dolittle to fight his own species... And how? Train Archie, a city-dwelling, food-loving circus bear (an endangered species at that) to adapt to its once-upon-a-time natural habitat and "woo" Eva, who belongs to the woods. But what if Archie is not a willing partner and Eva is not impressed by his antics (which include crooning golden oldies and doing a bear jig!)?

Moreover, the timing is not right at all. The Dolittles' (Kristen Wilson, as John's lawyer wife Lisa, Raven Symore as Charisse and Kyla Pratt as Maya the second daughter reprise their roles) European holiday becomes a thing of the past and Charisse is in a rebellious mood. And she has a secret she is too frightened to share.

The second "Dr. Dolittle" (the film, that is) is fun and frolic too, but only up to a point. Director Steve Carr chooses to tackle a larger issue — saving the natural habitat of the animal kingdom, and in the process, preserving Nature. So much so, you have a "I know what happens next" plot. But, Eddie Murphy, who slips into the role with perfect ease, makes the difference. His statement — "Of all the movies I've done, I get the most feedback on Dr. Dolittle" — says it all. Special mention must be made about the dialogue, which is full of wit and emotions.

And like in the first film, you continue to be amazed by the `lip sync' of the animals! They seem too real. They are absolutely adorable, especially Archie played by Tank, who got enormous support from his `human' crew.

They went on a `bear mode', which meant no perfume, no deodorant, no scented soap and no food on sets! Wolves, giraffes, possums, dogs, chameleons and raccoons... they have all pitched in their best in this animal drama with a human touch.

SAVITHA GAUTAM

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