John Dolittle (Murphy) has a way with animals. His childhood was spent chatting to dogs - his father put it down to an overactive imagination - but by the time he'd married, fathered kids and become a physician, he'd forgotten his unusual gift. Then, one evening, he narrowly misses running over a dog. The disgruntled hound proceeds to give the quack a piece of his mind, and before he knows it, Dolittle's hearing voices from trees, dustbins and café tables. Much to his chagrin, he can still communicate with the animal world. Everyone else, of course, thinks he's lost his marbles. Not surprisingly, Thomas's anthropomorphic comedy is as far from Hugh Lofting's sing-song original as it's possible to get. The thin storyline is a sideshow to some of the most realistic animatronic and computer effects to date. Not all the animal characters ring true, though, and some of the humour strays into crude, butt-sniffin' territory. But Murphy's likeable, the script's laden with a gaggle of one-liners, and there's even a vague message nestling beneath the zoological chaos.