Premiering this weekend on HBO was last year’s “Zookeeper”, starring Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, and a host of celebrities lending voices to animals, including Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone and Cher.
This movie would have had the distinction of being the first movie I’d reviewed during its theatrical run and then again when it hit premium cable, except I skipped it in theatres, running a “review” that simply said, “Yeah, right. I’d rather get poked in the eye.”
I did, however, view it as part of my “research” for the MAJOR Awards. It was a strong contender for a “Worst Picture” nomination. It didn’t wind up in the field though… Does that mean I actually liked it?
No. LOL. Hell no. It simply wasn’t as offensively bad to me as all of the other nominees were.
Kevin James plays a Zookeeper who proposes to his girlfriend, but is rejected. That scene takes place over the course of the first three to five minutes of the movie. When I saw it, I was able to instantly outline the rest of the movie in my mind… Simply based on that setup and the trailer.
Instinctively I knew that James would pine for her and attempt to win her back, the animals would (literally) speak up in order to offer him advice, and he would wind up falling for some girl he was friends with but doesn’t realize he has feelings for as she helps him in his quest to win his ex back.
And that was exactly what happened.
This movie is bland and predictable to a fault. Whatever value it has comes directly from the bevy of celebrity voiced talking animals. They’re not enough to carry a movie, but occasionally they say something funny enough to save this movie from completely sucking.
James is an unfunny funny-man who is given weak material to work with. Do the math. He gets into a variety of less than comical situations that occasionally induce eye rolling. As if the high concept of talking animals weren’t crazy enough.
It’s predictable, it’s stupid, it’s pretty lame. But at least it never angered me or offended me. Hey, many of last year’s “Worst Picture” field did.