In ZOOKEEPER, the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love their kind-hearted caretaker, Griffin Keyes. Finding himself more comfortable with a lion than a lady, Griffin decides the only way to get a girl in his life is to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job. The animals, in a panic, decide to break their time-honoured code of silence and reveal their biggest secret: they can talk! To keep Griffin from leaving, they decide to teach him the rules of courtship – animal style.
Director Frank Coraci brings his latest comedy to theatres with ‘Zookeeper’, with previous films including ‘The Wedding Singer’, ‘The Waterboy’ and ‘Click’, Coraci has a history with comedy particularly when Adam Sandler is involved and ‘Zookeeper’ is no different with Sandler serving as a producer on the film as well as one of the cast members.
‘Zookeeper’ has behind it a serviceable story which from the beginning is very predictable but allows for the script and cast to drive the main purpose of the film forward which is to entertain its audience with as many laughs and good feelings as possible. As a family film, establishing the setting in a zoo is a winning combination as it provides plenty of opportunities to showcase a variety of creatures which capture the attention of children and set things up for various comedic routines.
Unfortunately ‘Zookeeper’ only achieves this with mixed success at best, there are a few sequences which take advantage of its situation however quite often the film chooses to dwell on its mostly derivative story as opposed to pursuing more gags or slapstick routines which could have injected some much needed energy into the film.
Interestingly enough the film uses much of its run time to address some grown up issues around relationships and dating which not only will come across as disinteresting to most of the younger audiences which the films promises to target but tends to spread out the time between the laughs as well as.
Which isn’t to say that there aren’t any laughs to be found hereas there are, and the cast of voices behind the animals bring a likeability to all the creatures however there just isn’t quite enough jokes and comedy invested into capitalising on the characters available to the film.
Lead actor Kevin James delivers his performance in a fun way, and is supported effectively by Rosario Dawson, Ken Jeong who delivers some creepy humour so effectively, with Joe Rogan who enthusiastically delivers an arrogant, egotistical competitor for Kevin James’s nice guy character.
Ultimately however ‘Zookeeper’ brings some light entertainment, with a few laughs along the way but overall comes off a little flat and confused in terms of which audience it’s really trying to target.
I’m giving ‘Zookeeper’ 2.5 out of 5 stars, it’s released in cinemas around Australian from Thursday 8th September 2011. You can view the trailer here.