It’s a kiddie friendly romcom which sees otherwise likeable chubster Kevin James as Griffin, a city zookeeper. He loves his job and the animals love him but he’s pining away for the spoilt, materialistic girl who left his heart in pieces five years ago (Leslie Bibb) after a failed marriage proposal.
When she unexpectedly turns up at the zoo, he’s determined to get her back and discovers that the animals can speak. Instead of using their intelligence to escape, they hatch a plan to help him win her over, all the while ignoring the obvious affections of fellow zookeeper Kate (Rosario Dawson).
Cue “hilarious” pratfalls (fall over count: 7), jokes about peeing on your territory and lessons on how to walk like a bear. It’s a shame the film makers didn’t see fit to include tips from some of the more exotic animals in the zoo as male hippos are known to defecate and spray poo with the use of their tails in a bid to attract a mate – watching Kevin James shit himself in a bid to impress Leslie Bibb might have resulted in something worth watching.
The voice cast are terribly mismatched (with the exception of Nick Nolte’s gruff gorilla). Notable offenders include Adam Sandler as an insufferably irritating monkey and Maya Rudolph as a wise-cracking giraffe, who after three seconds will have you grinding your teeth to powder in an impotent rage. They’re doing the RSPCA no favours here.
Rosario Dawson is woefully underused and quite why she’s lowered herself to be in something this terrible is a mystery. Ken Jeong also makes a appearance and is rapidly becoming the patron saint of bad movies (after recent ill-judged appearances in Transformers 3, Grown Ups, Big Mommas 3 and dreadful animal caper movie Furry Vengeance).
But hey, who needs plot of laughs when you’ve got gratuitous product placement? Any smirks generated by this movie are probably from TGI Fridays’ executives who’ve had their product plugged to death by a CGI gorilla. Still, Zookeeper does have one achievement to its name: it’s the only film which has made me want to kill a giraffe.