Zookeeper asks audiences to accept an outlandish premise: that pudgy Kevin James is irresistible to two gorgeous women. Oh, and less implausibly, that animals can talk.
Directed by Adam Sandler's pal Frank Coraci (Waterboy, The Wedding Singer), the movie takes an amusing kids’ movie premise – that animals can secretly speak and conspire to help their beloved head zookeeper Griffin (James) win back his ex-girlfriend Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) and stay at his job – and mucks it up with a haphazard array of slapstick and pee jokes.
This is essentially two movies: One is about Griffin’s clumsy pursuit of shallow fashionista Stephanie, while lovely zoo veterinarian Kate (Rosario Dawson), for some reason, truly loves him. The other is about talking animals. The stories never really mesh. A star-studded voice cast (Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Don Rickles, Nick Nolte as a disgruntled gorilla, and Sandler himself channeling Gilbert Gottfried) can’t rescue a movie that has little to offer kids or adults. --Pamela Zoslov