I like Kevin James, and I like talking animals, but I did not like Zookeeper because I was bored throughout most of it. The talking animals are definitely the highlight, as they all have unique voices – voiced by quite a few stars. The animals are funny, and I feel that if the movie focused more on them, it would have been more interesting.
Griffin (Kevin James, “The Dilemma”) works as the Head Zookeeper, and has been there for eight years. Five years ago, he proposed to his then-girlfriend, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb, “Iron Man 2”), and was harshly rejected; he has been wary of women ever since. At his brother’s engagement party, Griffin runs into Stephanie again, and she tells his brother’s fiancée that he has such potential. Griffin remembers, however, that the reason she didn’t want to marry him the first time was because he works in a zoo, and he decides to quit and work for his brother at his auto dealership. The zoo animals, however, don’t want to see this happen, so they decide to break “The Code” and reveal to him that they can actually speak. The animals try to help Griffin win over Stephanie so that he will remain their zookeeper, as he is one of the best ones they’ve had in years.
Much like Griffin’s character, the beginning of this movie showed promise, and there were some chuckles throughout. Some of the best scenes are when the animals start to talk, and we get to see them engage with each other as they plot to keep Griffin employed at the zoo. The gorilla is voiced by Nick Nolte; Adam Sandler voices Donald the monkey; Sylvester Stallone and Cher are the voices of the lion and his “wife” the lioness; Judd Apatow was Barry the elephant; Jon Favreau as Jerome the bear, and my favorite was Maya Rudolph as Mollie the giraffe. The other human supporting characters were played by Rosario Dawson (“Unstoppable”), as a coworker of Griffin’s; Donnie Wahlberg (TV’s “Blue Bloods”), and even Ken Jeong (“Hangover 2”) as another zoo coworker of Griffin’s, though his part was kind of strange and wasn’t really necessary to the movie.
No, don’t see this film. I predicted the ending within the first five minutes, and I kept waiting for the movie to get better throughout, but it didn’t. The runtime is about one hour and forty minutes, but it felt like two hours or more because it lagged so much. Even the kids in the audience were only laughing at a few of the jokes. The premise for the movie showed a lot of promise, but if you are looking for a comedy or kids’ movie to see, there are much better offerings currently playing.
Zookeeper is in theaters today, July 8th.
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