Barry C Chung
I've never been a huge fan of talking animals in films. But in Frank Coraci's comedy, Zookeeper, animal dialogue goes beyond unbelievability - it's downright annoying, creepy even.
Zookeeper Griffin (Kevin James) has always had a way with animals. His best friend is a gorilla named Bernie (voiced by Nick Nolte). In fact, other than his ex-girlfriend, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), his life has been intensely devoted to the animals of Franklin Park Zoo.
Griffin is desperate to re-connect with Stephanie. He enlists the help of zoo vet Kate (Rosario Dawson), but his efforts might not be enough. The animals, who are all fond of Griffin, decide to help - even if it means breaking their sacred code to never speak with humans.
Zookeeper is low on laughs. If you're put through such nonsense, you expect a little fun for your troubles. Not here. The best scene involves Griffin on a night out on the town. He is at a TGI Friday's restaurant with Bernie, who's going through trust issues.
No doubt Zookeeper is going for cute - and not cuddly cute or aww-inducing, adorable talking-pets cute. Instead, you get something like Stupid Pet Tricks (YouTube it), minus the amusement. And, yeah, there's not much in the department of surprises either - the film is predictable from credit to credit.