A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this third installment in the Dr. Dolittle series focuses on a teen struggling to fit in with the "cool kids" at her school, most of whom ridicule her because she can talk to animals. While tweens may not relate to her particular gifts, they could see similarities between her social struggles and theirs. The movie is filled with positive messages about appreciating your own abilities, respecting differences of character, and finding strength and support from the right friends. The lack of questionable subject matter (aside from a bunch of fat jokes) and the presence of a diverse group of characters combine to make this a great choice for tweens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Maya Dolittle (Kyla Pratt) wants what just about any 17-year-old girl wants: to fit in. She's finally on the verge of breaking through to the "A-list" of her high school's popularity gauge, and she couldn't be happier. With her sights set on a cute guy and her foot in the door to coolness, Maya feels she's finally on her way. But every time things seem to be falling into place, her genetics start working overtime against her. Since she inherited her veterinarian father's ability to communicate with animals, most people (including most of her peers) think she's off her rocker, and she's desperate to show them otherwise. When her mother (Kristen Wilson) ships her off to the Durango Ranch for a summer of cowgirl lessons to help her sort things out, Maya is determined to make a fresh start.
Is it any good?
DR. DOLITTLE 3 is the third installment in the movie series based loosely on the children's books by Hugh Loftling and it's the most family-friendly of the trio. Although this one lacks the star power of Eddie Murphy (who played Maya's father in Dr. Dolittle and Dr. Dolittle 2), Pratt gives a funny, feel-good performance as a teen struggling to balance her uniqueness with the pressures of popularity, all while tending to the issues of some very needy animals.
Tweens will likely pick up on similarities between Maya's social anxieties and their own issues with peers, and all viewers will notice the movie's strong positive messages about self-respect, friendship, and teamwork. Parents won't miss the crude humor that plagued the first two movies; here, kid-friendly comedy like slimy egg fights in a henhouse and a flatulent horse ensure that the movie is fun and never boring.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship. How do you define friendship? What traits do you look for in friends? How can friendship be strained by the stresses of popularity? Who determines what defines the "in" crowd? How would you react if one of your friends was shunned by the cool kids? What if you were given the cold shoulder?
Families can also discuss how this movie compares to the previous Dr. Dolittle movies. Which one do you like best?
What did you think about the fat jokes throughout the movie? Is it OK to make fun of someone's weight or body type? Why do people think it's funny to tease overweight people?
- In theaters: April 25, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: April 25, 2006
- Cast: John Amos, Kristen Wilson, Kyla Pratt
- Director: Rich Thorne
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Book Characters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some crude humor and language.
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