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A Day at the Zoo| Leisure by Arnold Leibrandt
Kevin James does it again
Zookeeper (2011) is an American family comedy starring Kevin James (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Grown Ups, The Dilemma).
The film is about a zookeeper named Griffin (Kevin James) who, madly in love with his long-term girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), decides to pop the question.
Griffin pulls out all the stops to give her the most romantic proposal ever, but unfortunately (and to his surprise) when he pops the question she says no.
Stephanie says that she has big dreams for her future and doesn’t see herself being married to an everyday zookeeper for the rest of her life.
Five years after this tragedy not much has changed as Griffin is still a Zookeeper at the local Franklin Zoo and is perfectly happy in is job, albeit rather lonely.
Griffin is then asked to be the best man at his brother’s wedding and at the engagement party he bumps into none other than Stephanie.
Suddenly Griffin’s feelings for her come rushing back and he now finds himself trying to woo her once again, but is struggling to do so as he is still the same boring everyday zookeeper that she left five years ago.
Now Griffin is running out of options and has nobody to turn to for advice, until he gets it from the last place he expected.
The animals at the Franklin Zoo start talking to Griffin. As it turns out animals have always had the ability to talk but due to the “code” were never allowed to speak to humans. However, the animals of this zoo have decided to break the code and talk to Griffin because they respect him so much that they want to help him get in touch with his inner animal so he can win back the girl he once lost.
From a technical point of view there is nothing really wrong with the film as the directing, editing, visual effects and cinematography are all generally good, although there are no interesting or new techniques used that one would expect from expert directors like Spielberg or Cameron; the movie has the look and feel of a simplistic family movie that you would stumble upon while channel shuffling on a Sunday morning.
However, and I must stress this, this is an extremely boring film.
The storyline and script are both generic and predictable and contain very few genuinely funny moments. Not to mention that the film is dragged out and not very entertaining.
The film sees Kevin James playing the same awkward, shy and somewhat “lovable” character which he plays in practically every film he has ever featured in, as well as the fact that the love interest is substantially better looking than he is, which is also what one has come to expect from every Kevin James film or television series.
It is sad to think that Adam Sandler’s production company, responsible for comedic masterpieces such as Happy Gilmore (1996), Big Daddy (1999), Mr. Deeds (2002), Grandma’s Boy (2006) and The Benchwarmers (2006), has lately been responsible for some unarguably boring films such as The House Bunny (2008), You Don’t Mess With The Zohan (2008) and now Zookeeper (2011).
Strangely enough for such a mediocre film it features the voice talents of some serious acting powerhouses such as Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Adam Sandler, Nick Nolte, Don Rickles, Judd Apatow and Jon Favreau. Also, the only real funny moments come from the minor role of the legendary funny man Ken Joeng of The Hangover (2009) fame.
However, in contrast to my prediction the film did substantially well at the box office, raking in an impressive profit, and apparently has a sequel in the pipeline. On the other hand, though, it was crushed with negative reviews by most critics, as expected.
There was also some controversy over Zookeeper as some animal activist groups boycotted the film as the animals used during filming were allegedly abused.
My final thought on the film is that with its simple and predictable layout and its childish storyline its the kind of movie you’d want to take your kids to when you don’t feel like doing much babysitting, but if you’re looking for an intellectual or even simply an entertaining film – steer clear of this one.
Directed by: Frank Coraci
Starring: Kevin James and Leslie Bibb
Rating: 1 out of 5