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After reading some of the reviews for this movie, it is absolutely
clear that most of the previous reviewers didn't get the point of the
movie. It is a FAMILY movie.
You don't go to movies to see what you can pick apart, and then write a review that is already predisposed negatively against it. That's just stupid. Anyone who goes into a movie with the attitude they are going to hate the movie no matter, and writes an extremely negative review is an idiot. The reason to go to movies is to be entertained.
Zookeeper was a movie that entertained. The performances by all the cast members were very well done. There were a lot of laughs, and there was a lot of fun. My son, who by the way is 7, was in the perfect demographic for this movie. It had interesting characters, and situations.
For an adult, a movie with talking animals might not be your cup of tea, but for a small child, it is awesome. Yes, a child thinks it's funny when someone smashes into something or someone. Yes, for an adult, the movie might seem predictable, but truthfully, what movie isn't somewhat predictable? A young child (for whom the movie was made for) isn't going to be scrutinizing every tiny, single thing in a movie, just to say, " A-HA! SEE, I KNEW IT!". A child goes to the movies to be lost in imagination. My son laughed when there was a funny part. Whether it was funny because of the animals, or the humans, I heard a lot of laughter. And yes, I laughed a lot too, and so did my wife.
I believe that anyone who goes into this movie with the understanding that this is a movie targeted towards families with young children, that they will be entertained. This movie hits the mark for the appropriate audience members it was made for.
So maybe you hated Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Maybe you're sick of Kevin
James in The King of Queens. Maybe you saw the trailer and thought,
"Night at the Museum rip-off!" right after you thought, "This is a
joke, right?" I will admit that I held all of these accusations against
Zookeeper when I entered the theater, but one thing I've learned is
that preemptive decisions to not see a comedy simply because you think
you have a grudge against it is BAD BAD BAD. I can understand if people
can't stand Kevin James's frenetic humor IF YOU WATCHED IT, but over
400 votes of "1 star" a week before the movie is even released shows
some shameful attitudes among IMDb voters. Purposeful down-voting is
never justified, and is especially a disservice to Zookeeper, which
actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
Roger Ebert put it best when he said: "Look, a great movie this is not. A pleasant summer entertainment it is." The moments that make an awful comedy awful are the ones when you feel like burying your face in your hands and wishing you never saw a second of this movie. You can all think of those times, I'm sure. Personally, Zookeeper NEVER gave me one of those moments. The plot was a breath of innocent fresh air and managed to keep me interested in the movie. The romantic tensions in Paul Blart: Mall Cop were ridiculously exaggerated, but in Zookeeper were quite low-key. The same goes for Kevin James's boyish, frenetic acting; James has an inherent likability about him that really carries the weight of the film. Be it puppets, animation, or real animal movement, the zoo animals were impressive as well and sported some convincing lip-dialogue sync that you wouldn't expect to find in a movie like this. With a varied cast that will keep you guessing at who voices who, the animals are the second great half of the show. This is a family film aimed at innocent, happy-go-lucky moviegoers and you know it - so if you're looking at a pleasant and light time at the theater, Zookeeper is the one to check out this weekend. But if you want the typical Hollywood explosions, then grab three extra dollars and head down to see Transformers 3 in 3D instead.
After reading some of the unfair reviews this film has received I felt
compelled to add my two cents. Yes it's a formula film, yes we've all
seen it before, yes you can see the plot coming a mile away.
Honestly, I expected to hate this film... I'm not a big fan of the lead and I normally do not like these types of films, but 30 minutes in I was won over (maybe it was all the animals). This is a light-hearted family film and should be taken for what it is. If you have kids, they will absolutely love it.
The big name actors voicing the animals was a pleasant surprise and the animal animation and "acting" was very believable.
A very enjoyable film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie is severely underrated by Critics and some audience members
alike. It contains some seriously funny comedy that is suitable for
mostly all ages except I would say children under 8. (The "bad word"
hell is used a few times).
Apart from this, the movie had great humor and a good heart. The story has been used, but hey, you can say that about almost any movie these days. I think the movie needs more credit than what it is given, and I think after reading this, you should go watch it. You wont be disappointed! Don't listen to those critics on Rotten Tomatoes! Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope you enjoy the movie if you have not seen it yet.
Hidden in the concrete jungle is New York Zoo with Griffin Keyes (Kevin
James), its zoo-keeper, the heart of the facility. Meanwhile -
unbeknownst to the outside world - the zoo is inhabited by talking
giraffes, elephants, monkeys, lions and the like. When Keyes former
girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) threatens to throw him into a
depression relapse the animals decide to make a coming out and assist
their zoo-keeper with advice in the matters of the heart.
Overly obscene and borderline disgusting littered with senseless jokes spurted out by gibberish animals, "Zookeeper" fails to deliver in one key aspect: making you laugh. Albeit Leslie Bibb and Rosario Dawson do add some flair to the proceedings with their ueber-stereotypical one dimensional characters James lacks enough comedic flair to pull off the lone hero role, while crude animals with moronic lines hardly help his case. Foreseeably James manages to get his girl with the use of animal advice, but the same won't help him draw in any audience.
The titled character (Kevin James) learns one day that the animals at his facility can actually talk and they make it their mission to help him find love with a somewhat demented ex-flame (Leslie Bibb) while simultaneously we as an audience all know he really belongs with friendly co-worker Rosario Dawson. "Dr. Dolittle" antics for the most part as James talks to the animals with only minimally cute and memorable results. Voice characterizations led by Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, and Cher give the animals personality but really little else. James is definitely a likable comedic force, but he deserves better material. The leading ladies struggle to keep up his mild momentum and really the animals are not even needed as their appearances sometimes distract from what is going on as the plot limps along into development. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
If you are about to ask me what possessed me in seeing Zookeeper, my
answer would be curiosity. At first, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to
see Zookeeper. The cast in general didn't appeal to me, apart from Nick
Nolte and Rosario Dawson, and the trailer in the cinema when I went to
see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 had me cringing.
When I eventually dragged myself to see Zookeeper I was overall very unimpressed. Is it the worst movie of the year? Not quite, that would be either Big Momma 3, River of Darkness or Spy Kids 4. But it is low on my "films I saw in 2011" list.
I know Zookeeper is a family movie, I get that. But in my book, just because it's a family movie, doesn't automatically mean it's a good movie. Just for the record, I love family movies, some of my favourites are family movies, such as Disney, Pixar, movies like The Wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, ET, Black Beauty and The Black Stallion. Zookeeper just isn't my idea of a good family movie that's all.
I love family movies that touch you and reach out to the child within you, and also ones that appeal to a wide audience. Of course Zookeeper isn't that type of movie, but family movies can also entertain. I admit I raised a smile once or twice, mainly because of Bernie the Gorilla, and the movie didn't make me cringe as much as its trailer did, but overall Zookeeper just didn't entertain me.
Firstly, the writing is pretty much a mess. Not only is the script poorly written and a vast majority of the gags predictable and cringe worthy, but to me the humour would go over the heads of most kids and adults would find it childish.
The storyline is also incredibly predictable, and while some of the final act felt rushed a lot of it because of the humour not working felt dull. Not only that, it is very unoriginal, not always a problem, but seriously just how many times have we had the Dr Doolittle/talking animals idea? I did like some of the scenery and the animals do look great. The editing however could've been much tighter. The music is forgettable and doesn't always fit with the mood, and the direction is plodding and unfocused.
I do wish there was better news about the acting, but sadly no. I am not a fan of Kevin James, though I wasn't going to let that spoil the movie experience. However because his character so clichéd and material so weak, James tries too hard and overdoes it, badly. Rosario Dawson is pretty much wasted in a thankless role.
The animals are in a way more interesting than the humans, they look fine and their material somewhat funnier. Voice work is more problematic, some do decently but some grate fast. Adam Sandler and Maya Rudolph are incredibly irritating, while Sylvester Stallone sounds bored. Cher tries her best but her character is not among the most interesting. The best, and the only one I really did like, was Nick Nolte as Bernie.
Overall, messy and doesn't work in my opinion. 2/10 Bethany Cox
Went to see Zookeeper last night at a charity screening for the Franklin Park Zoo and I actually had high hopes. I knew Kevin James would provide the usual frenetic, bumbling, stammering but well-intentioned physical comedy, the romantic component would be something only a Hollywood movie could conjure, and the talking/emoting animals would probably get old quick, but I hoped the combination of elements would result in a winning story. Alas, I was only partially rewarded. The animals far outshine the humans in this movie, and the TGI Friday's scene is where the animal/human connection is at its best (I never had a night like that at TGIF!), but the human story is all too familiar and the characters can only try to raise a script that fails to add anything new to the cinematic landscape. Overall a decent effort, a few chuckles, but nothing new. And two people near me commented that Ken Jeong's typically icky character was totally unnecessary for this film.
Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) is the perfect employee. In addition to
being the favorite of all the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo, he's
professional, courteous and well-liked by his co-workers. His
dedication was only compounded when, five years earlier, he was dumped
by his fiancée mid-proposal. But when his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) comes
back into his life at his brother's engagement party, his career soon
feels like an albatross around his neck.
Fearing the loss of their favorite zookeeper, the animals (voiced by Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, Cher and others) intervene. They reveal the fact that they can speak and always could and then proceed to offer Griffin whatever help they can in winning back his former girlfriend. The attempts and advice vary in detail but what it all amounts to is a slapstick tsunami. It can enhance a storyline when used correctly but the use of it in this film is meant to replace one. It makes for a lot of laughs, but not a lot of originality. Basically, if you've seen the commercial, you've seen the movie. The kids will enjoy it, you might too, but you'd like it just as much if you waited to rent the DVD.
Director Frank Coraci seemed to have dumbed down his filmography, bring
responsible for comedies like The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy and
Click, all starring Adam Sandler, to relative duds like Around the
World in 80 Days, and somehow Zookeeper straddles closer to being much
of a miss, though it follows the standard formulaic procedure of a
romantic comedy where the guy tries ever so hard to woo that girl of
his dreams, only that the girl, well, is seriously not worth it.
Kevin James once again plays a self deprecating role as Griffin Keyes the titular zookeeper, and opens the film with a disastrous proposal to his girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) who rejects him outright because of his profession. How anyone can do that is beyond me, because it's not as if it's the first day of knowing that fella, but so it goes, and painted the picture of someone after wealth and status, which according to Griffin's soon to be married brother Dave (Nat Faxon) is something a woman like Stephanie would prefer. A job offer at his brother's exotic car showroom would mean Griffin leaving a job that is his calling, and the animals of the zoo have to plot to ensure Griffin stays to care for them.
And that meant an accidental revelation that they can all speak English, fluently, and possess a keen sense of humour, sort of, spending plenty of time bickering than to come up with concrete plans to help our protagonist, and even then, offer tips more suited for the animal world, which allows for some pretty awkward moments, though firmly kept in family friendly territory. In some ways it's similar to Night at the Museum, with the museum pieces coming alive at night, and in the same vein, the animals gather in town hall like fashion when the last patron and caretaker leave the premises to partake in some idle chatter.
Voiced by recognizable folks such as Nick Nolte as the emo Gorilla Bernie who might be more suited in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Adam Sandler as Donald the Monkey Sylvester Stallone as Joe the Lion who fantasizes about being king of the jungle, Cher as the Lioness, Jon Favreau and Faizon Lowe as a pair of Bears, and Maya Rudolph as Mollie the Girraffe, and a whole host of other voices, you'd come to expect that there would be at least some wisecracking animals to liven up the mood and add to the sporadic laughter caused from a rather tired narrative, but tough luck, there was too little of that.
Instead, what we got are the usual rote narrative development where Griffin painfully tries so hard to regain the affections of someone so undeserving and shallow, though some may argue it's natural selection like in the Animal Kingdom where the mate will choose from the strongest of her suitors, with Griffin being in competition with yet another braggart ex- boyfriend (Joe Rogan) of Stephanie's. In some ways it touches upon contemporary strategies usually involving another hot woman, and Griffin's choice to induce jealousy is that of his fellow zoo co-worker Kate (Rosario Dawson), whom you can stay 10 steps ahead to know how what should be role-playing, would turn out to be.
With an ensemble such as the underused Ken Jeong as Venom the reptile house zookeeper and Donnie Wahlberg as the token keeper with a sadistic streak, both of whom should have seen more screen time, Zookeeper is what you would label as an average family entertainer, playing it very safe just like how one would view a zoo exhibit, encased behind a rigid structure that provides plenty of the same, and none of the surprises.
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