A still from the film Zookeeper.
Direction: Frank Coraci
Cast: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson
Back in 1967, Rex Harrison established his funnyman credentials as the veterinarian who could talk to animals in Doctor Dolittle. Lucklessly, this purportedly family-friendly comedy doesn’t match up to the vintage fable.
The storyline of Zookeeper is strictly old hat. A kind-hearted caretaker (James) at the Boston zoo is dumped by his girlfriend (Leslie Bibb) because she doesn’t approve of his downscale job.
Not to worry, though. When the shrew re-enters his life five years later, the animatronics beasties break their vow of silence — it seems that they can chat with humans after all — to help the lovelorn fellow unleash his inner alpha male.
The script by a collective of five writers is far too calculated and simple-minded. The direction by Coraci (who masterminded the equally dull The Waterboy) is alarmingly laboured. About the only likeable aspect of the film is the relationship between the zookeeper and his comely fellow worker (Dawson). Both she and Kevin James exude a natural warmth and charisma.
Also, the menagerie is voiced by A-list talent including Sylvester Stallone as the lion, Cher as his mate and Adam Sandler as the glib-talking monkey.
At best, Zookeeper is a decent distraction for the kiddies.