By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Kevin James’ movie, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” caught me off guard a couple of years ago. It was far funnier that I thought it would be.
James is back with “Zookeeper,” and I went into the theater with high expectations. That was a mistake.
It’s not that “Zookeeper” is a horrible movie. It has genuinely funny moments in the service of a predictable story.
Several years back, Griffin (James) had his heart broken by Stephanie (Leslie Bibb). All of the sudden, she’s back with Griffin in her sights.
The animals at the zoo decide to help Griffin win her back. They break their vows of silence and tell it to Griffin straight.
The bears (Faizon Love and Jon Favreau) advise him to get his paws up; the wolf (Bas Rutten) suggests marking his territory; the lion (Sylvester Stallone) tells Griffin to cull her from the herd.
The animals were bred in captivity so what do they know about romance in the wild, but Griffin takes their advice with embarrassing results. If you like squirm-in-your-seat comedy, “Zookeeper” delivers.
There are some laughs from Adam Sandler the monkey, Maya Rudolph the giraffe and the others, but considering the talent on display, it’s fair to expect more.
The Lioness (Cher) tells Griffin that he should try to make Stephanie jealous by going out with another woman.
Of course, the other woman has to be Kate (Rosario Dawson), who works at the zoo and thinks Griffin is an impressive guy the way he is.
Gee? You don’t think Griffin should quit worrying about Stephanie and pursue this Kate situation, do you?
I can’t get too down on “Zookeeper” because my kids loved it.
It’s no “Mall Cop,” but it has its moments. Griffin and Kate’s dance/flying scene is sweet until it turns hilarious. Plus, Bernie the Gorilla (Nick Nolte) has a wild night on the town that’s fun to watch.
All in all, I give “Zookeeper” a C plus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville and Movie Reel 4 in New Albany.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
Kelli Karlson Wizard 106.7
She gives “Zookeeper” an A saying, “It was tons of fun.”