In Zookeeper, the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love their kindhearted caretaker, Griffin Keyes (Kevin James). 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-honored 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. The film also stars Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb and features the voices of Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, and Sylvester Stallone.
This movie is a fantasy film for sure with the animals speaking at night and only to each other and to Griffin (Kevin James), the head zoopkeeper at Franklin Park Zoo in New England. The animals all love him because they know he really cares about them. The film is almost equally divided between being funny at times and downright silly at others, such as the sequence in which Griffin takes out Bernie the gorilla to T.G.I.F.’s for some good eating and some dancing. It is a bit amusing, however, when Bernie has to explain to a T.G.I.F. worker that he can’t let her try his “mask” on because it is expertly wired on and very difficult to remove and besides, it hasn’t been cleaned in a long time and really doesn’t smell good.
In the movie’s opening sequence Griffin is turned down when he proposes to his girlfriend Stephanie, who wants him to be more than a zookeeper and so later he concocts a plot to get a second chance with Stephanie and asks fellow zoo mate Kate (Rosario Dawson) to go out with him to an event which Stephanie will be attending so as to make her jealous. The trick works and Griffin ends up with Stephanie but he soon realizes he is becoming someone else to keep her interested, and he’s not sure he wants to be that guy.
The film has some nice themes such as being true to one’s self and realizing that sometimes the person you truly match up with is standing right in front of you. Kevin James is a likable actor, an everyman if you will and a very average Joe with a big heart. In a scene in which he is riding a very low bicycle and attempting to beat Stephanie’s new boyfriend he is quite funny when he ducks under a large semi with the bike in order to gain an advantage in the race. However, despite some good moments and what could have been a family-friendly time for families, there is a strong profanity uttered and we cannot award our Dove Seal to the movie. It’s too bad because the movie features Sylvester Stallone’s voice as a know-it-all grumpy lion and the film definitely features some fine voice work.