Sunday, 25 October 2020
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 14 July 2011 15:56

ZookeeperForget Dr. Doolittle. That horse was beaten dead by Eddie Murphy years ago (and then resurrected and beaten some more for the sequel).  Now Kevin James tries his hand at talking to the animals for a living, and using them as his personal makeover consultants.

James plays Griffin, a guy who loves his job as zookeeper and has the respect of his co-workers and the animals. Unfortunately his girlfriend doesn’t see him in quite the same light. When Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) looks at him, all she sees is wasted potential. So it’s no surprise that when he plans an elaborate proposal and sweeps her off her feet that she says no and breaks his heart. Years later, he’s still obsessed with winning her back. Basically she’s the unattainable trophy girlfriend he needs to validate his self-worth.

This is what the porcupine thinks of the movie...Of course the zoo animals see all, and they roll their eyes at Griffin’s pathetic attempts to impress. The rest of the film is like a check-list of animal dating tips on how to win a mate. They tell him to “Be the alpha-male” and you can imagine where wolf’s “Mark your territory” suggestion might lead. Then there’s Donald the monkey’s romantic advice... “Throw poop at her!” Thankfully Griffin is not so desperately smitten that he follows through on that one.

The story is predictable and formulaic. Especially Griffin’s blind-eye to the crush his gorgeous co-worker (Rosario Dawson) has on him. The only dimensional relationship in the film is between Griffin and Bernie the gorilla. Bernie (Nick Nolte) is withdrawn and depressed in his gloomy habitat. When the gorilla reveals the secret of why he keeps to himself, it makes us wonder what we would find out if we really could talk to animals. Maybe the movie should have focused more on this side story instead of all the lady-chasing.

True bromanceThe best thing about the film is that the humour is innocent enough for those who want to bring the family.  I can’t think of anything in it that was inappropriate for children.

There are lot of big names in the voice cast including Adam Sandler who also produced the film. Cher and Sylvester Stallone voice the lion couple, Maya Rudolph is the giraffe and Judd Apatow is the elephant. It makes me wonder what some of the talented cast saw in this uneven script, but I guess sometimes a paycheque is just a paycheque and if you can have fun while making a few bucks, why not?


Directed by Frank Coraci, Starring Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb.

Tweet the giraffe became famous for appearing in a classic Toys “R” Us commercial and also starred in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Sadly, she passed away after filming Zookeeper.