Blu-ray/DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    BLURAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Kyla Pratt as MAYA DOLITTLE
    Tegan Moss as TIFFANY MONACO
    Brandon Jay McLaren as BRANDON TURNER
    Jason Bryden as RICK BEVERLEY
    Judge Reinhold as NETWORK EXECUTIVE
    Karen Holness as LISA DOLITTLE

    Rated PG
    Studio: 20th Century Fox

    Directed by: Alex Zamm

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Maya Dolittle is back as the would-be veterinarian who can actually talk to animals. While her father is away helping animals overseas, Maya (Kyla Pratt) is getting ready to attend college. Disenchanted with how long it will take to get her degree, Maya becomes friends with heiress Tiffany Monaco (Tegan Moss). Tiffany brings Maya out to Hollywood and sets up a new reality television show in which the pair talk to animals and help them with their celebrity masters. However, soon Maya learns that there’s more to helping animals than just talking with the celebs.

There are some things that anyone watching this film must keep in mind. First of all, this is a “Dr. Dolittle” movie. Second, it is the third direct-to-video sequel to a franchise that A-lister Eddie Murphy abandoned after only two theatrical installments. Third, it stars talking animals. We’re not dealing with fodder for arthouse critics here. It’s a family film, and it really needs to be looked at this way.

Rather than trying to reach a full mainstream audience, the “Dr. Dolittle” movies are going for the kid crowd. It’s a little cottage industry for 20th Century Fox and Kyla Pratt, and on this level it works.

This installment of the series is a bit more introspective for the series, looking at the pseudo celebrity culture and bringing down a hammer of judgement on people like Paris Hilton. There are some funny gags with the dogs of celebrities, especially with a frou-frou Chihuahua that desperately wants to be manly.

The kids are going to enjoy the talking animals and the slapstick humor. And ultimately, the film does have a decent message about following your dreams and helping out others.

We’ve been waiting for Maya Dolittle to go to college for years, ever since she took center stage in “Dr. Dolittle 3.” I hope that the next installment gives her something more to do that just putting her in a fish-out-of-water situation.

In Kyla Pratt’s first installment as the title character, she went to a dude ranch. In the next, she worked with the President of the United States. Now, she’s dealing with Hollywood starlets. As much as I think Pratt has made the character her own, there’s only so far she can go just meeting famous people. And there’s only so many times she can learn there’s more to helping animals than just talking to them.

It’s not that I’m looking for a four-year installment of Dr. Dolittle in college. I just hope this series moves out of the cuteness factor a little and gives some characters (whether they be on two legs or four) have some new stories.

With that said, you have a burping monkey in this movie, and that’s worth something for the kid crowd.

Both the Blu-ray and the DVD include three featurettes packaged in “Tiffany’s Tricked Out Cell Phone.” These featurettes include spotlights on the costume design for the pets (who come first, of course), costume design for the people and the use of storyboards.

There’s also “Star Tours: Dolittle Style,” in which the burping monkey takes the audience on a tour of the locations from the film. And finally, there’s “No Business Like Show Business,” which is a basic behind-the-scenes featurettes with heavy emphasis on working with the animals.

20th Century Fox has taken a smart page form the Disney production manual and has packaged both the Blu-ray disc and the DVD of the film in one case, which gives families a chance to ease into their Blu-ray library while still having the DVD available for the kids to watch in the car, on vacation or in their own room.

Kids who like talking animals.

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