Zookeeper

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:PG
  • Director:Frank Coraci
  • Cast:Judd Apatow, Leslie Bibb, Rosario Dawson, Kevin James, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone
  • Release Date:September 08, 2011
  • Distributor:Sony
  • Running time:102 minutes
  • Film Worth:$6.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Failing to succeed as a rom-com or a kids’ flick, this feels surprisingly flat with the animals, and Kevin James, never really coming alive.

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An uneasy hybrid between a kids' flick and a rom-com, Zookeeper is a film with an identity crisis. Kids should theoretically find something to enjoy in the talking animals but won't know what to make of the allegedly comic romantic yarn. While many adults will find the rom-com tedious and the kids-friendly aspects lacking in charm and wit.

Set in Boston's Lincoln Park Zoo, Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) is Griffin, the nice guy head zookeeper. The animals, fearing Griffin will leave his job, decide to break the rules and talk to him, offering him silly advice as to how he can win back his old flame, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb). Meanwhile, there's an undercurrent of romance between Griffin and Kate (Rosario Dawson) - the zoo veterinarian, who is much sweeter and nicer than the more superficial Stephanie.

This should have been a lot cuter and funnier than it is. The animals - themselves a hybrid of CGI and animatronics - are voiced by big names, most of which are asleep at the wheel. Sylvester Stallone is driving Joe the lion, while Cher voices Janet the lioness. Jon Favreau does the vocals for a grizzly bear, famed filmmaker Judd Apatow is an elephant, while Adam Sandler (who, like Kevin James, is one of the film's producers) is an annoying monkey. Together, they form an often shrill cacophony when they should have been an amusing set of characters. The one ray of hope is the always great Nick Nolte as Bernie the depressed gorilla. His voice work is superb and if there's any humour or anything touching in this film, it's when Nolte's around (the gorilla, incidentally, is not animated; it's a guy - presumably not Nick Nolte - in a gorilla outfit).

Directed-by-numbers by Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, Click, The Waterboy), there's precious little here to enjoy.

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