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MOVIE REVIEW: Zookeeper

An impressive cast, an unimpressive script

  • Kevin James as Griffin Keyes in "Zookeeper."
  • Kevin James as Griffin Keyes in "Zookeeper."
  • A scene from "Zookeeper."
  • Kevin James as Griffin Keyes in "Zookeeper."
  • Kevin James as Griffin Keyes in "Zookeeper."
  • Kevin James (right) as Griffin Keyes in "Zookeeper."
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If you enjoyed comedian turned actor Eddie Murphy talking to animals in Doctor Dolittle, you’ll probably like comedian turned actor Kevin James doing the same. The other actors include Joe Rogan (poorly cast), Nick Turturro, Donnie Wahlberg (continues to look more and more like his more famous brother Mark) and Ken Jeong, who plays another wacky, sexual character – although the least funny of any character I’ve seen him play yet.

This movie reminds me of Hitch in so many ways, but with a lot less charm and a lot more jokes that fell flat. That isn’t to say I was bored watching it.

It’s fun listening to a lion talk and realizing – that’s Cher’s voice! And just like if we were watching her on the screen, we only see her mouth move and no other part of her face. Hearing Adam Sandler channeling Gilbert Gottfried, to do a monkey with a potty mouth was slightly cute. Since there are animals talking, let’s discuss more of the voices we hear from them. It’s an impressive roster that includes Nick Nolte (who is hairier than his mug shot photo), Sylvester Stallone, Jon Favreau, Judd Apatow, Don Rickles, Maya Rudolph as a singing giraffe, and Jim Breuer -- who did the goat boy character on Saturday Night Live -- plays a crow in this.

We’ve seen, whether it’s Jack Nicholson, Hugh Hefner, and even non-famous people – it’s possible for gorgeous women to be attracted to not so attractive men. When James had model-turned-actress Leslie Bibb (Iron Man, Talladega Nights) into him – and also my biggest on-screen crush – Rosario Dawson. It’s one thing if he could talk to the animals and just amaze everybody with how much control he has over these beasts. The women just see him as the schlub he usually plays in movies.

I enjoyed hearing Lionel Richie in a scene in Rio where birds are forced upon each other and expected to mate. A Lionel Richie song here makes for an amazing dance number with James and Dawson, in that ever popular scene in movies – trying to make the ex jealous.

Here’s the story. Fat guy proposes. Gorgeous girl says no. Fat guy never gets over her. Fat guy makes a fool of himself working as a zookeeper. Brother wants fat guy working for him at his fancy car dealership, where he can make a lot more money. Nice girl working with fat guy likes him. He’s oblivious to this. Animals talk, partly because they’re sick of five years constantly hearing about the girl that got away. They also don’t want him leaving to take the high paying job. Fat guy runs into ex at brothers wedding. What will happen? Exactly what you think will happen.

It’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be, but I can hardly recommend it (and hope Kevin James can take a break from the Sandler movies). I’d give it one paw up.

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  • Rating: 1.5 of 5