Zoo Animals do Hitch
Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) is dedicated to his job as a zookeeper, so much so that after staging an extravagant romantic proposal to girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) she dumps him because being a zookeeper isn't good enough for her. With a fondness for Griffin the animals he looks after decide to break their vow of silence and tutor him in how to find and keep love which whilst Griffin still has a thing for Stephanie may actually be right in front of him in the shape of attractive colleague Kate (Rosario Dawson).
Despite liking Kevin James I had some extremely bad feelings about "Zookeeper" when I read that we had zoo animals which talk and coach their zookeeper in the art of how to find love. It sounded like something which was aimed purely at a young teen audience who won't find talking animals cheesy. But after a brilliant opening scene which played on Kevin James' comical charm my fears evaporated and I just sat back for some simple fun, okay a lot of daft fun aimed at young teens but entertaining for adults too.
In truth that opening movie scene which sees Griffin delivering an elaborate proposal on a beach involving a sun set horse ride, message in a bottle, Mariachi band as well as fireworks before being dumped was the best part of t"Zookeeper" but the rest of the movie is still fun. It is simple enough as we discover that when no humans are about the zoo animals live a secret life where they talk, not a new idea when we have had toys and museums which come to life when no one is around, but one which works none the less.
And the lack of new idea extends as we "Zookeeper" enters "Hitch" territory with these animals deciding to teach Griffin how they get and keep women leading to Griffin doing some very animalistic things including marking his territory which surprisingly is amusing. None of it is amazing but a lot of fun with plenty of humour coming from the gags as well as the array of voices with the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte and Adam Sandler all being well chosen to voice the zoo animals.
But "Zookeeper" is all about Kevin James and once again it is his likeability which makes this work. He manages to do romantic without it feeling cheesy whilst also inept with out being too corny. It is because James is frankly so likeable that you accept this zookeeper could end up not only having dated the attractive Stephanie played by Leslie Bibb but also the equally attractive Kate played by Rosario Dawson.
What this all boils down to is that "Zookeeper" on paper doesn't look like anything more than a movie with talking animals for children. But it is far more entertaining than this sort of movie tends to be and much of that comes down to Kevin James who continues to deliver likeable performances.