Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb
Directed by Frank Coraci
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2011
102 minutes

Aside from the original Dr. Doolittle, movies where animals talk to humans have not fared well. Still, one such DVD shows up every five or so years. Zookeeper with Kevin James is the latest such attempt and automatic entry for a Razzie Award. Not that this comedy fully deserves one.

Kevin James is a decent actor. The Zookeeper animals are voiced by major talent like Cher, Stallone, and Nolte. The problem is aside from a couple of scenes the story is as unimaginative as you can get. Kids might find this comedy fun enough but that is about it.

Griffin (Kevin James) is a zookeeper in Boston. Five years ago he proposed to Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) and was turned down. This is the opening and funniest scene in the movie. Now, Stephanie is back in town. The animals are afraid Griffin is going to leave them for a better job to impress Stephanie. They decide to help Griffin show her how important he is by making him into a hero. It fails and in the process they reveal animals can talk.

This is where Zookeeper crashes. Griffin’s reaction is ridiculous: he runs home, gets three hours later, and starts exercising. HUH?

You then start noticing that many moments in this comedy seem to have been filmed in the daytime and fixed up to look like the action was taking place at dusk or at night.

There are then scenes where animals show Griffin how to release his inner beast, a secondary story involving a silverback gorilla and a bad zookeeper, and one involving the zoo vet played by Rosario Dawson. None of these put together make for a movie.

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