YMMV / Doctor Dolittle

The books

  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Doctor Aybolit, the Russian expy, is very well known, although the best known work about him is an original poem rather than the shortened translations of Lofting's works.
  • Values Dissonance: Although a Friend to All Living Things, the Doctor seems to have no trouble with eating sausages, even in front of Gub-Gub the pig. Then again, many real life pigs have no problem eating pork products themselves.
    • Averted in the 1967 movie. The Doctor is a vegan, hinting in a song sequence that being able to understand the complaints of Gub-Gub and other animals essentially guilt-tripped him into it.

The 1967 film

  • Designated Hero: Dr. Dolittle comes off as self-absorbed and inconsiderate, due in large part to Rex Harrison's Higgins-esque handling of the character. When his sister tumbles down a flight of stairs, for instance, Dolittle sits indifferently at his desk and babbles about animal trivia. Later (after we've learned that he has no concern for the physical well-being of his human patients), the doctor boasts about disowning his sister and not speaking to her for years. From there, Dolittle heaps verbal abuse upon Miss Fairfax, steals a circus animal from his colleague (as well as a bonnet and shawl from a woman he's never met), permits a small child on a dangerous voyage across stormy seas in a non-seaworthy ship (all while milking his friends for all the cheap physical labor they're worth), and allows Emma's clothing to be lost in a shipwreck despite managing to save all his books. The film seems to suggest that Dolittle's compassion for animals expiates all these wrongdoings, but it's never a good sign when one of the songs in your musical is a "The Designated Hero Sucks" song.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Dr. Dolittle's Improbable Food Budget is actually explained when he talks about how his animal clients can't pay him with money, but still try to pay him by giving him offerings of their own foodstuff. Dolittle might not eat worms and leaves and the like, but he can keep it and use it to feed his houseguests!
  • Squick: At one point, Dolittle sings a love song to a seal completely straight faced.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: One of the biggest reasons critics ripped into the film was because they felt Rex Harrison was badly miscasted as Dolittle, and was basically channelling his role from My Fair Lady and had nothing in common with Dolittle's personality from the books.

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