Now Playing: ‘Zookeeper’ Not So Family-Friendly

After last week’s heated comments around a movie that shall not be named, I feel that I need to preface my ‘Zookeeper’ review by stating that I enjoy well-made family films – emphasis being placed on “well-made.” While I may not have liked many recent family flicks, I am not a hater of family films in general, which you might assume because so few of high quality have been released this year. ‘Zookeeper’ is just another poorly-made, forgettable one that lacks any merit of originality or genuine entertainment.

Kevin James plays Griffin, the lonely head zookeeper of Boston’s Franklin Zoo. After getting dumped by his uber-hot girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb, ‘Talladega Nights‘) while proposing marriage, Griffin’s heart and ego were shattered. Worried of how others would treat him, he bottled up his pain, only talking about it with the zoo animals as if each was his own personal Dr. Phil. Little did he know that they were actually listening and comprehending every word he confessed.

Five years later, Griffin and Stephanie bump into one another at the zoo, their first encounter since the incident. Watching Griffin head down the same road that caused him to lose her on the first round, all of the animals decide to break “the code” by helping Griffin out. Basically, they pull a ‘Toy Story‘/’Night at the Museum‘ by revealing that when humans are absent, they can talk and communicate just like humans.

The only thing more ridiculous than watching a silly, overweight 46-year-old man taking dating advice from a group of caged animals is watching him actually put their primal alpha male advice into action. While the main attraction of ‘Zookeeper’ should be the talking animals, instead it’s all about Kevin James acting like an animal. The majority of the talking zoo animal scenes in ‘Zookeeper’ feel like forced injections trying to keep the story in the kid zone.

In reality, ‘Zookeeper’ is nothing more than another stupid Adam Sandler-produced flick that falls flat on its face. It’s not made for children; it’s made for below-average-intelligence adults with an additive of talking animals so that it can hopefully capitalize on the kid demographic. Kevin James falls down a lot. There are several animal bodily fluid scenes, animal attacks and even the obligatory dancing animal musical number during the closing credits. Had the movie remained in the zoo and primarily focused on Kevin James’ relationship with the animals, it may have had potential to be a great kids’ movie – but it doesn’t. As is, ‘Zookeeper’ is nothing more than a dumb pile of mediocrity with a plot that rambles on more than Kevin James himself.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆


  1. Dave

    I often wonder if the people involved with this film put on a good face and go through the motions knowing the end result sucks but hope it will do good business. Or worst case they actually think they are doing something great. Either way I feel embarrassed just watching the commercials for the movie.

  2. the more i see the previews the more i think of the opening scene in the great altman picture , the player. someone pitching its dr. dolittle meets night at the museum meets mall cop.

    • I saw the preview, and beside for the poor voice work, my general dislike of Kevin James, the inanity and predictability of the plot (Hey, I spotted Rosario Dawson, whose character James’ character will eventually end up with (I don’t need to see the movie to know this)!), I felt especially disconcerted that I was being advertised to in the midst of an even larger advertisement.

      I know this isn’t the first time product placement found its way into a trailer, but it was more like they were trying to convince me of the merits of TGIF’s salty, fatty, microwaveable garbage rather than the stale, warmed-over garbage that is the actual movie.

      I have never seen anything else by these guys, but they are now my heroes. They summed up this movie perfectly:

  3. besch64

    I can’t believe that a human being, who has been given the generous gift of short life on earth of only 70 or 80 years, spent some of those precious minutes writing this movie a legitimate review.

    • Luke Hickman

      You and me both! After writing this, I just couldn’t bring myself to write an expanded one for my own site!

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