Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Don't Exploit The Animals": Zookeeper

We're being asked to believe that the likable bumbler Kevin James essentially has a choice between Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb (although we allow for the fact that the latter dumps him at the beginning of the movie). Who would have concocted such a stretch?

But hold up - let's check the credits: co-writer? - Kevin James. There's more. Co-producer? - Kevin James. And as we already stated the star of this absurd fantasy? - wait for it.....Kevin James.

So in order to serve the self-indulgent tendencies of the former "King of Queens" he and co-producer Adam Sandler have turned to that reliable movie staple, the talking animal, or in this case, group of animals.

The plot, if you care, is this: having been dumped, our man Griffin the Zookeeper languishes with his broken heart for five years, throwing himself into building his bonds with his menagerie. All the while, he's under the secretly amorous, but increasingly frustrated eyes of co-worker Dawson, who's mulling a move to Nairobi, because the "gorilla-whisperer" in her midst is paying her no attention.

Lo and behold, the temptress comes back into the picture, and still has designs on him. This prompts a probable exit on Griffin's own part, which in turn prompts the animals - voiced by the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Sandler and Nick Nolte (more on him in a bit) to break their self-imposed "code of silence" to prevent the loss of their best friend.

In truth, if the animals really could talk, they would demand pay at the expense of their human counterparts(or at least the voice talent should get a higher level of remuneration). their combined interactions - with each other and with the people - far outshine any of the actors' performances.

Nolte, in particular, as the voice of Bernie the gorilla, almost rescues Zookeeper from lameville, but the story, obsessed with proving James' lover boy credentials relegates the man -ape relationship to the 2 nd level.

It's not like we were expecting "Masterpiece Theatre" or even "Animal Planet" but watching Zookeeper saps the energy long before the inevitable happy ending.

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