The Twenty-First Century

Zookeeper [2011]

Given my low expectations for any movie starring Kevin James, I was pleasantly surprised by “Zookeeper”. By pleasantly surprised, I mean I was expecting the worst. James has developed a typical screen persona over the years, which has served him well in such forgettable films as “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”. “Zookeeper” marks his second attempt at a PG-rated comedy, playing a zookeeper at Boston’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Is it predictable? Of course. Does it bring anything new to the table? Absolutely not. But as a summer family flick, it certainly entertains. The twist here is that the animals at the zoo begin talking, and much to our surprise, they even give our hero all sorts of animal kingdom advice on mating. You see, the man is hopelessly obsessed with Stephanie, the bitch who dumped him five years ago for a loser. Yet he has no idea that Kate (Rosario Dawson), the zoo veterinarian, has go the hots for him. Complain all you want about the mediocrity of the story, but one cannot deny the success of Kevin James in this one. I found myself shockingly rooting for him, and in movies like “Zookeeper”, it almost never happens. Kids will enjoy James’s goofy character, while adults will get as chuckle hearing a lion with the voice of Sylvester Stallone, or a lioness voiced by Cher. But save the best for Nick Nolte, who plays a gorilla who’s been dreaming of T.G.I Friday’s for so long. James springs the gorilla and hits happy hour in one of the funniest scenes in the movie. If only the rest of the film feels as fresh and funny as this scene. No matter, Kevin James and the rest of the cast earn one extra star in my review. The movie would be literally nothing without them.

Rating: 2/4

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