Film Review: Kevin James in ‘Zookeeper’ is Zany Family Fun

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CHICAGO – Not being familiar with the Kevin James filmography really helped in assessing his latest, “Zookeeper.” His appeal is very evident, and the filmmakers do some funny bits with the old “talking animal” routine. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Zookeeper has a solid (and sweet) story at its base, and that allows the comedy to flow out of situations, much more organically than, for example, the very forced spastic gymnastics of Kevin James in this year’s “The Dilemma.” It’s truly an enjoyable film for the whole family, one that finally lives up to that tired pitch.

James is the titular Zookeeper named Griffin, and we first meet him as he is riding on a horse with his girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb). He wants to pop the question, she wants to dump him. When the twain finally meets, a dejected Griffin is left in a lurch. This throws him into a tremendous funk – which is understandable – for the next five years.

He continues his stellar zookeeping, however, famous for his attention to the animal’s needs and details. His associate, Kate (Rosario Dawson), is just as dedicated, as opposed to the flaky reptile keeper named Venom (Ken Jeong) and Shane (Donnie Wahlberg), a mean-spirited animal feeder. It is after hours at the zoo when the magic begins.

The animals start talking. In fact, they convene to help Griffin get his girl troubles solved and Stephanie back in his life. Joe the Lion (voice of Sylvester Stallone) is the leader, his wife is Janet (Cher), there is also Bernie the Gorilla (Nick Nolte) Barry the Elephant (Judd Apatow), Jerome the Bear (Jon Favreau), Mollie the Giraffe (Maya Rudolph), Donald the Monkey (Adam Sandler) and many others. Will they be able to show Griffin the way? You don’t have to be Noah to figure that one out.

”Zookeeper” opens everywhere on July 8th. Featuring Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Ken Jeong, Donnie Walhberg and Joe Rogan, with the voices of Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Judd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Maya Rudolph and Don Rickles. Screenplay by Kevin James, Nick Bakay, Rck Reuben, Jay Scherick and David Ronn, directed by Frank Coraci. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Zookeeper”

Kevin in Wonderland: Bernie the Gorilla (voice of Nick Nolte) and Griffin (Kevin James) in ‘Zookeeper’
Kevin in Wonderland: Bernie the Gorilla (voice of Nick Nolte) and Griffin (Kevin James) in ‘Zookeeper’
Photo credit: © 2011 Columbia TriStar

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Zookeeper”

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