Sometimes I wonder if I set certain movies up to fail. From the trailers for Zookeeper, I was not expecting a very good film. I anticipated maybe a few giggles, a lot of eye-roll-inducing jokes that fell flat, and a derivative love story. The good news is that I'm pretty good at feeling out trailers. The bad news is, well, all of the stuff that I just mentioned.
Kevin James (King of Queens) plays Griffin Keyes, the heartbroken lead zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. While he may have lost his girlfriend, he still loves his job and the animals he takes care of. However, when a chance run-in with his old flame makes him rethink his life and consider leaving the zoo, the animals band together to prevent that from happening. That's right, the animals. It's that kind of movie. All of the animals can talk and they've just so happened to keep this a secret for all of time. They decide to make hatch a plan that makes Griffin look like a hero, but when that goes South, they realize they have to confront him directly.
It gets even more ridiculous from there. Griffin is taught animal mating techniques that he attempts to utlize on human women. He takes Bernie, a gorilla, out to dinner at T.G.I. Fridays. Why does he do this? Because the gorilla has always wanted to try T.G.I. Fridays. At this point in the review, you can probably decide whether or not this is a film for you. It wasn't for me. I know people who would like this film. I know people who would love this film. But it's because they're looking for some cheap laughs, some mindless entertainment to pass the time. The Zookeeper is that mindless entertainment. What it is not is a good film.
This becomes very apparent with the film's poor excuse at a love story. In order to win the love of his ex-girlfriend, Griffin enlists the help of Kate (Rosario Dawson), a fellow zoo employee. This happens a lot in films. A guy will enlist Girl A to help him win over Girl B, only to learn that Girl B is not the right one for him and that it was Girl A all along. Rosario Dawson is Girl A and it's obvious from the start. American Pie pulled this off. Every other film afterwards didn't, and the Zookeeper is no exception.
What else is there to say? The Zookeeper is not the worst film I've ever seen, but it's bad enough that I can't recommend wasting time on it. If you want to see Kevin James acting like an animal, then give this a whirl. If you want to see a quality film, avoid Zookeeper at all costs. As far as my Kevin James fix goes, I'll stick with King of Queens.
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