Movie ReviewsRating: 1.5 of 5 yaps


“Zookeeper” is the kind of movie that the general public eats up and, I daresay, the sort of movie over which critics absorb the most beatings.

“How can you dislike such a harmless movie?” people ask. “It’s so…so…CUTE.”

Let me mention, in case I haven’t before, one of my pet peeves in analyzing a movie: terming it “cute.” It’s typically reserved for kids’ movies or animated films and is the stock answer when someone feels guilty slamming such oft-horrible movies. So they dismiss both it and truly high-quality films by lumping them all together with this single, all-encompassing adjective that means virtually nothing.

So let me say: “Zookeeper” is a terrible movie. There’s nothing particularly offensive about it; I don’t hate it with the passion that I did, say, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (or “Dark of the Moon,” for that matter), but there is absolutely zero effort put into making a quality film.

“Zookeeper” is simple formula: Kevin James is a likeable fella whose movies make decent coin, so someone developed a cutesy family-type film for him, throwing in some talking animals with some sort of half-baked romance hoping it’ll be a solid moneymaker for the studio.

And that’s literally as much creativity as went into the making of this film.

And sure, James is a likeable enough schlub, playing a zookeeper named Griffin still holding a candle for the hottie (Leslie Bibb, of the “Iron Man” films) who dumped him five years ago. She can’t decide whether she still likes him, but she dumped him despite the crazily romantic way he proposed to her because he condescends to be a … zookeeper — which is a perfectly noble, even cool and interesting, profession if not a lucrative one.

Meanwhile, there’s another hottie in his life — the zoo’s veterinarian (the mega-hot Rosario Dawson), who has a bit of a thing for Griffin but because she’s not blonde … er, wears glasses … er, doesn’t wear overtly sexy clothing, Griffin doesn’t notice her.

So what’s a guy to do? Well, talk to the zoo animals, of course, who decide enough is enough. They reveal their big secret to Griffin — that they not only can communicate verbally, but speak perfect English — in order to give him love advice.

Because they’re animals, they tell him to do things like pee on trees, puff out his chest, make loud, guttural noises, and basically establish himself as the alpha male. As you can imagine, none of this works, nor is any of it particularly imaginative or funny. Then again, that doesn’t really matter because audiences are so conditioned to politely laugh at “comedy” that they’ll laugh to avoid admitting they’re watching the very same crappy Disney Channel jokes they laughed at 15 years ago.

Of course, there are some celebrity voices for the animals. Nick Nolte plays an emotionally detached gorilla who conjures the only thing resembling a real relationship in the film; Sylvester Stallone of all people voices a lion; and James’ pal Adam Sandler voices the monkey who unlocks the animals’ cages at night and allows them to escape. Cher, Judd Apatow, Faizon Love, Maya Rudolph and Don Rickles are among the others providing voices, though they’re mostly unrecognizable.

Providing their faces as well as their pipes are actors like Ken Jeong (the “Hangover” films), Donnie Wahlberg (yes, that Donnie Wahlberg, NKOTB fans), and Joe Rogan (of “Fear Factor” fame). I frankly don’t care enough to speak beyond mentioning their performances, considering none of them (or anyone else in the film) cared enough to put effort into a quality product. (Though, to be fair, this is not entirely their fault; no one from the producers to the crew appeared to put much effort into this film.)

This is the sort of film that insults the intelligence of its intended audience. Because that audience is young children, the studio assumes it need not make something unique, imaginative or interesting. Parents will, at best, appreciate that the bland humor isn’t too bawdy or risque and, at worst, throw out that “C” word.

Tags: , , , ,

39 Responses to “Zookeeper”

  1. Brenda says:

    This movie was probably the worst movie I saw this summer. It wasn’t one of Kevin James’ better movies. Time Machine was a little better than this one.

  2. Hollie says:

    I didn’t go to this movie with high expectations, because it is a kids movie. Kids don’t seem to care about the quality of the plot or the acting, so I usally don’t expect much. I actually enjoyed the movie, though! It was hokey, but cute and lighthearted and who doesn’t love Kevin James!? My daughter and her friends thought it was funny too.

  3. Alise Cool says:

    I may not be a movie critic, but I really liked this movie! I will admit it was predictable and maybe even formulaic, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. It was funny, relatable (minus the talking animals, hah) and most important of all, it was entertaining.

  4. talking animals . . instant awful in my eyes. you gave it 1 yap too many lol!
    too bad cuz i think Kevin James can be funny.

  5. Kelly says:

    I am a Kevin James fan also, but this was not a project he should be proud of. My children liked it, but like said before, it’s just another Dr. Doolittle.

  6. jasondadamaja says:

    This movie looks like crap. I would not waste my hard earned money to see something with no plot and obviously unsure what their audience is. I am not sure if this is a kids movie or somewhat an adult movie trying to be kiddie. Overall, my time is precious. I already wasted 2.5 hours watching transformers 3, plus a lot of movie seeing it in imax. Will not repeat that this year again with this crap.

  7. Nathan Lindsay says:

    I felt this movie was okay. It was funny in parts but it is a plot that has been overdone. I found it very similar to Adam Sandler’s last movie "Just Go with It." It definitely is not worth theater pricing to go see, So I would wait for video. At least there was no 3D or 3D up charge.

  8. Rob says:

    Not a bad movie. Kids enjoyed it and I came away with a smile also. IMO this is more of a family movie and children will enjoy the jokes. All in all was fun for all of us.

  9. kelli says:

    so i ahve to admit after seeing "mall cop" and realizing how terrible that was i could only predict this would be a bust as well! tho i do love some Kevin James and the fact that he is the "dumb" kinda funny, im VERY glad my 7 year old hasnt seen previews for this movie and asked that we view it on one of our family date nights! whew, got outta that one! lol and if iw as ever concidering seeing this (which im about 99% sure i wasnt) this review has completely added that 1% i had saved of maybe! thanks film yap!!! good lookin out! :)

  10. LOVED this movie.Totally enjoyed it. Nice to see a family movie.

  11. Paul D. says:

    I thought the movie was funny and enjoyable for everyone.

  12. Bliss says:

    First off, thanks for being honest and slamming the movie. If it’s bad, let us know it’s bad. All for not calling it cute when it really sucks! Thanks for the review and saving me some cash! Not going to this one!

  13. Peter Dewing says:

    Kevin Jame movies never really seem to do well, especially when he is main actor. Last one I remember him in was Mall Cops, which was rather horrible. Grown Ups and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry where somewhat good only because of the other star power in the film. He is a good TV actor and needs to stay with King of Queens.

  14. Adam K says:

    It’s so disappointing to see Kevin James coming out with movies like this. I think he is incredibly funny, but the whole Paul Blart thing is ridiculous. He is almost in the Will Ferrell category in that both need to be supporting actors in order for the movie to work. It’s like they both try waaaay too hard when they are the lead.

  15. ANTWAN SMITH says:

    After reading the comments I don’t know if i want to go see it or not. I migh just wait…

  16. glen guerrero says:

    The movie was "CUTE" LOL , but it was funny too. I agree theres not much to the movie except its for pure entertainment and to be "Cute"

  17. Brittany says:

    I love Kevin James but I agree this movie is a little bit disappointing.

  18. Zack says:

    I thought that Zookeeper was an okay movie. I really like Kevin James, but I think I went into this one with too high of an expectation so it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. I would defiantly check it out if you haven’t seen it but I would wait until it comes out on DVD.

  19. Carol says:

    The movie was entertaining but was boring at times and ridiculous at times. I won’t take my grandkids because I think they’ll say it’s silly. The animals talking reminded me of Mr. Ed. I also give it a C-.

  20. Casey C says:

    I like Kevin James, I really do. This movie looked horrible though. Kind of glad to see my suspicions have been verified! My own 11 year old daughter had zero interest in seeing this too.

  21. Marti says:

    I am sorry to hear the reviews of this movie. I liked the movie and so did my 8yr old daughter, she said she would watch it again. I did find myself laughing throughout this movie.

  22. I love Kevin James but this movie was just allright for me. While entertaining and mildly amusing the plot was shallow and lacked a lot of humor that could have been added. Probably the funnest part of this movie was trying to figure out the voices. If you like Kevin James go see , if not you might be disappointed.

  23. lisa hundley says:

    i am so sick of kevin james playing the same role in the same types of movies! he’s a good actor and stand up comedian, and he deserves better roles. i will not watch this movie.

  24. Dolores says:

    I don’t care what you say. I liked this movie. My grandaughter liked this movie.I’d even go see it again. Don’t be such a sourpuss.

  25. Dax M says:

    Thanks to the filmyap I saw this movie with my kids and the 2 funny parts my kids already knew from the overplayed previews. My son (5) got bored, put his head back in his shirt (like a turtle), pulled in his arms and flapped his sleeves of his shirt like a bird. I wanted to do the same, but had to be the parent and made him stop. Side bar: I felt this movie was marketed to kids becauase of commercials on kids channels and I know we previewed it before most of the animated movies this year. As such, I didn’t think a few of the scenes in the movie were age appropriate (Kevin James fishing car keys out of another man’s pocket for example). That scene in particular didn’t get a single laugh, incredibly awkward, and I felt was not necessary.

  26. gwinjay says:

    I want to see this one, just didnt have the time before now
    I really liked him as the mall cop, a movie I saw more than once

  27. Kim says:

    I didn’t think I would really like the Zookeeper movie but once I saw it with my newphew and some friends it was actually kindof funny.

  28. Andy says:

    I took my niece to this movie, and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Then again she’s five. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but that’s not really saying much since I had no expectations for it.

  29. Kristi Wilkerson says:

    I took my son to see this movie as we were lucky to see one of the premiers. We loved it. It was so funny. It was cute and the animals were great. The choices of Cher, Stallone, Sandler, Nolte et all, were a good choice for this movie. I’m glad we got to see this movie and even though we got to see it for free, it’s one I would definately pay to see again and we will get the DVD.

  30. Sara says:

    Kinda glad i didnt take my little ones to see this, looks like where waiting for redbox.

  31. Kim D. says:

    I brought my 2 boys to this and we all thought it was funny. Both fun for kids and adults.

  32. Lindsey Maloof says:

    I personally liked this one; glad everyone else didn’t! I love watching Kevin James!

  33. Becky Meredith says:

    Unfortunately , I didn’t get to see the preview, I was working. But, from the reports of my family that did go, this looks like it should go straight to rental. The trailers do look interesting, but, like a lot of them out there, the best scenes are in the trailers

  34. Angelo Anton says:

    Man, these talking animal movies need to stop. Has anyone gone to a movie like this and it turned out to be really good? I get it’s for kids, but this one looks like a straight-to-DVD contender.

  35. Lindsay Drews says:

    Hahaha! Awww, I figured this was going to be the case. Yeah, I agree…Kevin James cracked me up on King of Queens…but not much else. What a shame, but glad I didn’t waste a buck on this movie!

  36. Eric says:

    Kevin James needs to go back to TV. He can’t carry a film. Great sidekick but not a lead. Who keeps greenlighting and funding his movies?

  37. Dan Diego says:

    I went to the premier of this film in Westwood. I enjoyed it, with the exception of one thing; ALL the voices of the animals. Adam Sandler needs to stay at home and take up painting. He doesn’t belong in front of a camera, behind a camera, or behind a microphone. All the voice-overs were terrible, and brought nothing to the film. The story was predictable, yes, but still pretty cool. Kevin James is great at slapstick, and is great at doing the character he does best. **Note to Mr. James: next time Adam Sandler approaches you for a project, run. Quickly.

  38. James Whaley says:

    I saw this movie last night and I have to agree that this movie was terrible. I really like Kevin James in King of Queens and I haven’t seen anything with him in it since then that I have like. I have to say though that there where a couple of moments in this movie that I almost enjoyed, most of the plot and some of the characters weren’t interesting and the movie feels to dumb even for the kids that it is trying to attract.

  39. Sara says:

    I’ve been a Kevin James fan for both his tv and movie projects. However, a similar story has been done before (remember Dr. Dolittle??), and I am NOT a fan of real animals talking in human voices (besides when they have a sexxxy voice like Mr. Ed, that is). I don’t think I’ll be wasting the time or money to see this one. Life is too short and the weather is too fantastic! Now, go outside and play!