SURPRISINGLY, actor Eddie Murphy reckons the biggest audience response he has had to any of his films was for Dr Dolittle.
"Of all the movies I've done, I get the most feedback on Dr Dolittle," he says. "No matter where I am - all over the world - kids and teens would come up to me and say,'Hey, Dr D!'"
It seems it was his own kids' favourite. "The film reminded them and me of the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, where people and animals all talk to each other. I think that's part of the reason my kids, and young people all over the world, responded so strongly to Dr Dolittle."
The accent is, of course, on kids and young people. I never responded at all to the original film, a crude modernisation of Hugh Lofting's rather charming books.
This inventively-titled Dr Dolittle 2 shows no signs of improvement.
Again we have the loud-mouthed and noisy doctor played by Eddie Murphy as a modern American vet who just has this ability to talk to and understand animals.
The latest script gives it a right-on feel as the doctor attempts to save a forest because a special sort of bear is living in it. Developers led by the suitably seedy-looking Jeffrey Jones want to knock it down but a court judgement suggests they will be prevented if the bear starts breeding.
The unlikely plot has Dolittle bringing in a male circus bear to breed with the wild one and thus save the forest.
There are numerous side plots including the doctor's busty 16-year-old daughter attempting to date the pizza boy much to the doctor's annoyance.
But once we get into the forest, it's a huge disappointment. Although there are a handful of wildlife shots, this is set on an obvious soundstage with fake-looking rocks and trees and often a very fake-looking bear.
As the bear has to talk his jaw drops up and down in a ventriloquist's dummy sort of way when having a conversations. Naturally the bear isn't interested in returning to the world and fending for himself - he has a nifty dance routine in his circus - but having spotted his projected partner falls in love with the hairy beast.
Set in San Francisco - the city's bridge is featured numerous times - and the studio backlot, for a film featuring so many animals it is curiously unappealing.
For one thing, the beaver who calls in the doctor to save the forest is played as a Mafia don, his sidekicks of weasels, raccoons, etc, as his henchmen. These animals are far too worldly-wise.
The film's publicity suggests there were over 250 real animals including a real 800-pound bear named Tank who took the central role. Unfortunately it all looks pretty fake and even the real animals don't look, er, real.
But that's the old cynic in me. Kids will probably enjoy the show, the hip animals, some of the basic humour and Murphy's look-at-me-being-funny comedy style. It's just that I didn't.
Which famous Hollywood producer was it who suggested a film should open with a climax and build up from there?