Dir: Stephen Gaghan. US. 2020. 101mins.

Much like the odd, unappealing accent Robert Downey Jr. attempts in the title role, Dolittle is a jumble of cutesy ideas and strained whimsy. In his first film since leaving behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the former Iron Man seems adrift, struggling to bring humour and pathos to a reboot with very little creative spark but endless amounts of stale attitude. A large, starry cast, most of them giving voice to witless CGI animals, is wasted in a family fantasy-adventure in which the good doctor might be able to talk to all manner of animal, but there’s no guarantee that any of those exchanges will be remotely delightful.

Downey’s stardom will be needed to distract from bad buzz for this troubled, delayed production. Disastrously, though, his Dolittle gets perilously close to the crippling quirkiness of Johnny Depp.

Opening Friday in the US, and landing in the UK early next…