Zookeeper Movie Review

Okay, so one grumpy citizen critic has already proclaimed about Zookeeper – sight unseen – that among the list of stuff he’d rather be doing than see this movie, is ‘spend an hour in a sleeping bag with Glenn Beck.’ And while Zookeeper may be the second movie in a row this week – along with Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses – where incredulously, the stunning star does not get her wimpy male object of desire – there’s enough mild amusement in store with this talking animal outing, to provide audience creature comfort all around.

King Of Queens Kevin James morphs into zoo guru for the movie as Griffin, the title character in question. Dumped by his glamorous and shamelessly vain fiance Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) for a more macho mate, Griffin resolves to depart the Franklin Park Zoo and pursue a more upscale livelihood, in order win back the shallow hottie.

But the zoo animals panic at the thought of losing their beloved caretaker, and conspire to start talking as a last resort, to hopefully convince him otherwise. And share courtship tips with the glum guy, on how to get in touch with his dormant animal instincts and impress the unappreciative bombshell.

Volunteering as well to assist Griffin with his romantic woes is Griffin’s workplace best buddy, Kate (Rosario Dawson). Who for reasons never made quite clear, is willing to go to extremes – like swinging from drapes during an impromptu ballroom dancing contest – to get the attention of the bratty bimbo. And possibly make her jealous enough to reassess Griffin on the marriage meter.

And in an unusual case of animals possibly upstaging the human protagonists in a movie as a positive, Zookeeper makes the most of its mixed company antics in this furry comedic talkfest, however predictable. For while kids can enjoy the well-intentioned, duplicitous yapping uncaged creatures, those jaded adults in the audience will likely pass the time turned on by the challenge of the guessing game matching celeb voices with assigned species in the cast.

Including Adam Sandler as Donald the Monkey, Sylvester Stallone’s Joe the Lion, Cher’s nagging Janet the Lioness, Jon Favreau as Jerome the Bear, and Judd Apatow doing Barry the Elephant. And last but in no way least, Nick Nolte’s Bernie the Gorilla rowdy party animal.

Sony Pictures

Rated PG

2 1/2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.