July 10, 2011

Movie Review: Zookeeper

Zookeeper is the sort of movie you aren't supposed to like. It is not that it is actively looking to upset you or offend the audience on anyway. It is just that Zookeeper is the kind of movie ha does little more than simply exist. It is an unambitious movie that is meant to be filler, a genial sort of movie looking to bring families out as a unit so that the kids can be entertained while the parents sit idly by. This is a movie that is there to make a buck, there are no delusions of greatness. Zookeeper is a movie that is not here to be good and here I am telling you I enjoyed it.

Yes, you read that right. I enjoyed Zookeeper. I am not going to sit here and attempt to defend it as a good movie, it really isn't. As an example of moviemaking it is not really all that good on any level. The writing is typical, a little dull, no real chances are taken, dialogue is uninspired, and the plot is nothing new, you have seen it all before. The effects are spotty a best, oftentimes they just look a little off. However, I will say that the gorilla suit looks pretty good, sure you can tell it is not real, but it looks good. The acting is less than inspired, aside from Kevin James who is asked to sell a good deal of ridiculousness. Then there is Frank Coraci's direction which is less than inspired and not heed by some odd editing where it appears scenes are missing.

Still, here I am liking the movie. Yes, it is irrational, but it is what it is. Sometimes your enjoyment of a movie can be determined by your emotional reaction. Not every movie is going to be determined by quantifiable means. I thought the energy that Kevin James brought to the able was infectious and he was allowed to use verbal as well as physical skills to generate laughs, and they generally work.l the supporting cast is also entertaining, particularly Rosario Dawson and Joe Rogan. The voice work is about what you would expect.

The movie is standard fare. James is Griffin, a zookeeper who loves his job and is good at it. The problem is that he is not so good on the social side of the coin. As the movie opens he is dumped by Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) who looks at him and sees potential, but doesn't see him for who he is now. Jump ahead a few years, and Griffin is still doin well at the zoo and is about to celebrate his brother's wedding. It is here that Stephanie reappears with her eyes on him.

Griffin sees the opportunity to make his life better and win the girl. The animals, sensing this seek to help him win the girl and stay at the zoo. Of course, nothing goes as planned and things just become a mess. The mess will lead to a realization by Griffim that he is headed down the wrong path and he is doing things for all the wrong reasons.

Yup, nothing special to be had here. Still, I found myself laughing at the antics that go on. Kevin James is a funny guy and while this does not exactly push him to new heights, it does let him does his thing. Prat falls, flubbed lines, wordplay, it worked for me. I also enjoyed the obvious problem of changing yourself for the wrong reasons.

Nothing particularly special, but I liked it. There was a certain sweetness to it. Perhaps a little too sweet and too obvious, but that doesn't change my emotional reaction tot he movie which remains favorable.


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