Starring: Kevin James, Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone
Director: Frank Coraci
Running Time: 102 mins
Zookeeper is an American film about a zookeeper, always unlucky when it comes to love in his personal life, who is startled when he discovers the zoo’s animals can talk, and are willing to give him advice on his love life in order to stop him from leaving the zoo. However, he must return the favour by showing one animal the world.
This film is a pointless waste of time. A kids’ movie that feels totally inappropriate for kids, a tedious story filled to the brim with either stupid or boring characters, and a collection of irritating talking animals with rubbish voice performances behind them, all making Zookeeper 102 minutes of boredom and annoyance.
But before all that, there is one positive to take from this film: the CGI isn’t all that bad. As awful as everything else about the film is, the computer-generated animals do look very realistic (particularly when they’re not talking or wearing clothes).
That’s it for plus points, however, because there’s so much more to hate about this film, the worst of which is undoubtedly the talking animals. Although it’s a trope of many family movies that very rarely manages to work out (Garfield, Charlotte’s Web etc), Zookeeper goes even worse by making them the most irritating characters in the whole movie, giving them a wide range of ridiculous and stupid personalities.
Apart from the fact that the voice performances from the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte and unsurprisingly Adam Sandler are painfully annoying to listen to, what’s bewildering about this film is that it’s set around a human getting love advice from zoo animals.
Now, the film attempts to reason why this would happen, suggesting that the animals don’t want him to leave the zoo, but the fact still remains that you have zoo animals telling a guy how to get the girl he wants, and he actually listens to them, something that I could never get on board with at any point throughout the movie.
Then even stranger than having a lion and some bears explain to the human how to get his love life back on track, there’s an entirely separate story in which the zookeeper decides to show a depressed gorilla the human world by taking him out on the town, and fulfilling his wish of finally going to a TGI Friday’s.
Now, apart from the fact that there’s an entire sequence of the film where an actual talking gorilla goes around the city and manages to pass himself off as a human in a costume, the TGI Friday’s thing comes out of absolutely nowhere, with the gorilla randomly asking whether it’s as good as he believes it to be. In one of the most blatant and ridiculous moments of product placement, I was left absolutely bewildered by what was going on, only adding more and more to by boredom and frustration at this film.
Finally, it’s not just the zoo animals that are a pain in the neck throughout the movie, because the humans are all idiots too. On the one hand, the likes of Kevin James and the other male characters are all tedious and one-dimensional from start to finish, with the actors doing nothing to make their characters particularly charismatic or likable at any point.
What’s even worse is that the female characters are even more stupid. If there is a zero-dimensional character, it’s definitely one of the women in this film, because they are given absolutely no development at any point throughout, and simply collapse to all of the men at random points for no reason whatsoever. Apart from being a sign of horrific writing, it makes Kevin James’ quest to get his ex back completely uninteresting, given that he’s pursuing what appears to be a character made out of nothing more than a shell of skin.
Overall, I hated Zookeeper. Not only is it boring and unfunny at every moment, but with pathetic characters and writing, it’s a painfully annoying and often bewildering watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 4.9 overall. The CGI is pretty good though.