Picture this, Paul Blart (the Mall Cop) takes a 150kg gorilla, dressed in a t-shirt, to TGI Friday’s and barely anyone bats an eyelid. Only in Hollywood folks, and Hollywood is probably where this entire movie should have stayed.
Zookeeper follows the story of Griffin Keyes (Kevin James), who is completely humiliated when his marriage proposal is rejected. Heartbroken, he throws himself into his career as a head zookeeper, where the animals love and trust him and he gets to work alongside radiant doctor Kate (Rosario Dawson). But when the chance arises to win his ex back five years later, the animals put their heads together to help Keyes out.
With a star cast, including Cher and Sly Stallone, as well as some of the funniest comics in the business (Adam Sandler, Maya Rudolph), this could have been great. However, it’s drawn out, boring and begging for the audience to laugh.
The scenarios are completely unrealistic, with animals who can stroll out of their enclosures while visitors are two feet away from a sleuth of bears, segmented off by a four foot wall. There’s a painfully inept scene where an engagement party is organised within the zoo, while the animals just stand around watching, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘elephant in the room’.
The writing is unrealistic and patchy, with heaps of slapstick thrown in just to get laughs. Kevin James falls off bridges, jumps into enclosures and scales a suspension bridge on the gorilla’s back. His ‘best friend’ relationship with the gorilla is both awkward and odd, resulting in the two singing along to Low by Flo Rida while driving along a freeway.
Think of a mix of Madagascar and Night at the Museum and you have a near perfect description of the movie. Where Madagascar saw zoo animals flee their enclosures, these animals are happy to remain in the zoo, giving a lonely forty-something dating advice.
There’s no adventure worth seeing here and even when the animals talk, it’s unfunny, meaningless and boring.