Monday, July 18, 2011

REVIEW: Zookeeper


Kevin James, Rosario Dawson


July 8, 2011

Frank Coraci

Columbia Pictures,

1 hour 44 minutes



Of all of the movies out there, my grandparents, my sister, and I all had the willpower to choose 'Zookeeper', the latest Kevin James vehicle run by Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison crew. Why exactly did we choose 'Zookeeper' over other films out there? Because I promised a friend that I would see 'Winnie The Pooh' with him, and my grandparents already saw 'The Tree Of Life' and have since loathed it, plus my sister had no interest in seeing 'Tree Of Life' at all. And now here I am, writing about if Adam Sandler's latest attempt to help a buddy out was any good. While this movie had its funny moments, it overall was a crappy movie. Hell, I knew that this was going to suck the minute I saw the teaser trailer that tried to knockoff 'Night At The Museum.' Imagine if "Night At The Museum' had a bastard child with Adam Sandler, 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop,' and every cliché ever put into a romantic comedy. That is the result of 'Zookeeper.' Despite a few chuckles, there is no reason to see 'Zookeeper' at all. However, I can admit that I did enjoy this movie more than Mr. Popper's Penguins. But overall, 'Zookeeper' is just among the line of crappy kids movies to come out these days. We might as well get a third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie to top it all off. Oh wait a minute...

Griffin Keyes has been trying to get over the fact that his girlfriend Stephanie dumped him five years previous because of the fact that he is a zookeeper. Now she is back in the picture and Griffin wants to leave his job as a zookeeper and get a cooler job so he can be with Stephanie once again. The animals of the Franklin Park Zoo don't want Griffin to leave, so they decide to break their one rule at the zoo, and that is to not talk to the humans. Griffin, horrified but cool with it, decides to take dating advice from the zoo animals in order to win Stephanie's heart.

This movie is very disappointing, mainly because this film comes from the same director as 'The Wedding Singer,' a personal favorite of mine, and "Click,' a funny Adam Sandler movie. It's also disappointing to see Kevin James, best known for 'The King Of Queens' and 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop' have to be trapped in this family friendly/Adam Sandler breed that is unable to live amongst its surroundings. They might as well have had Adam Sandler direct and star in this movie, because it seems that he does that with all of his recent movies. Believe me, I have no beef with Adam Sandler at all. His earlier films, like "Happy Gilmore' are hilarious, but he hasn't made a fantastic comedy in almost a decade. He is like the white Tyler Perry, though Perry knows when to do something good for his career ('Precious') instead of always relying on dumb comedies. I believe that, despite enjoying his movies sometimes, Adam Sandler is the one to blame for making this a bad movie. However, his role as Donald the Monkey, who like to brag about his opposable thumbs was actually a little bit funny.

Kevin James is a very funny man. From 'King Of Queens' to 'Hitch' to 'Paul Blart,' he is someone to rely on when it comes to physical humor and fat jokes. Despite being the saving point of this movie, his talent is still wasted in this movie. All you get out of Kevin James in this movie is him trying to be hip with the kids, trying to win a bitchy girl, and getting hurt in almost every scene he's in, both physically and emotionally. I wish Mr. James could step out of the Sandler shell and smell the fresh, comedic air, and be able to find a better movie to be in. The rest of the live action, including the gorgeous Leslie Bibb as the bitchy Stephanie, and Rosario Dawson as the kind hearted Kate all play their parts for the paycheck, and they were just so so. What do you expect from a movie about talking or annoying animals. The voice cast for the animals, including Adam Sandler, Nick Nolte, and Sylvester Stallone have their funny moments, but are overall just as dumb as their live action counterparts.

Coming out of this movie, my grandfather told me that I could write a much better story on the back of a napkin than this film. This is just one of the many stupid stories that always end in a predictable way to come out this year alone. There is no life in the story, just talking animals, a bitchy girl, and Kevin James getting hurt. If you're looking for anything but the three things I just mentioned, then you're screwed out of your money. Sure kids won't see the movie for having a bad script and storyline, they'll just see it for being a movie with talking animals and a fat man getting hurt all of the time. Parents will be bored and annoyed by how bad the story and script are in this movie, but they may be glad that their kids will enjoy it.

I recently had a brief Facebook conversation with acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert. No, I'm not messing around with you, I actually had a conversation with Roger Ebert. He gave this movie three stars out of four, mainly because this is a movie for families, he said. If you're reading this Mr. Ebert, though I doubt that you'd remember our conversation, I understand where you were coming from, and I admit I did laugh a couple of times. However, this movie had too many sexual references and dumb cliche's that it couldn't exactly be considered a family movie. There is no reason to see this movie at all, even as a rental. Sure you'll get a couple of chuckles, and Kevin James is a funny comedian, but any family can pass this movie up.

Even if this movie is the only thing playing at the time your kids want to see a movie, do yourself a favor and go to a real zoo and meet a real zookeeper instead of watching this zookeeper hurt himself constantly while communicating with animals. Not only will your kids have a better time than you would sitting in a movie theater for nearly two hours, but you as parents would as well. Kevin James, you're a funny guy, but you don't need this type of movie to make money. Do yourself a favor next time and don't rely on your friends to hook you up in movies. Do you want to become like Allen Covert, Rob Schneider, and David Spade? As for Mr. Sandler, please do the world a favor and make a movie that everyone, including critics, will enjoy. To all families in the world, in case you didn't quite understand the previous paragraphs in this review, do yourself a huge favor and save $30-$40 by not visiting this 'Zookeeper.'


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Due to recent comments of spam and profanity present from obnoxious kids who think they are the funniest people in the world, I would like to request that the comments posted here are in good taste, meaning that they have no Anti-Semitic remarks, profanity, sexual innuendo, or any insults to myself. You can criticize the review and give pointers on how to make them better, but how about we be adults about this. Ok? Thank you, and have a nice day.

- Zach Marsh