Zookeeper: written by Nick Bakay, Rock Reuben, Kevin James, Jay Scherick, and David Ronn; directed by Frank Coraci; starring Kevin James (Griffin), Rosario Dawson (Kate), Leslie Bibb (Stephanie), and Donnie Wahlberg (Shane) (2011): Yes, I watched it. It’s a mess. A mess written by five people. And apparently sponsored by TGI Friday’s, where about half the film takes place.
In my defense, I find Kevin James quite funny. He has his moments here. Orienting a kid’s movie around a bunch of talking zoo animals giving relationship advice to the Kevin James character really was a colossal misstep, though — there’s an undercurrent of extreme creepiness in certain scenes. Never moreso than in the scene in which the Nick Nolte-voiced Silverback gorilla gets a girl’s phone number. Yikes!
In the girl’s defense, she thinks he’s a guy wearing a gorilla costume. And she’ll probably be disappointed when she finds out how small a gorilla’s penis is. In the Director’s Cut, I assume.
The screenplay seems to have been patched together from two or maybe three different screenplays, one of them sorta funny. But James, you know. He really is funny, and he really does have a gift for physical comedy. I for one look forward to Zookeeper 2: Zookeepier. Lightly recommended.