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You Wanna Talk? Let’s Talk!
I desperately wanted to rent today’s movie, mainly out of my self-loathing. We’ve all heard of this movie and decided not to see it, but you’re not all like me. You avoid things that may cause you pain because you’re weak. MAN UP TIME!! None of you will probably see this movie, but it won’t matter because I’m going to spoil it. Read on if you want to hear my thoughts on the movie. This movie is Zookeeper, written by Jay Scherick and David Ronn, directed Frank Coraci, and starring Kevin James, Leslie Bibb, Rosario Dawson, Nat Faxon, Joe Rogan, Ken Jeong, and Donnie Wahlberg, and starring the voices of Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Judd Apatow, Jon Favreau, Maya Rudolph, Jim Breuer, and Don Rickles.
Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) proposes to his girlfriend, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), but she turns him down and dumps him. She says it’s because he’s a zookeeper, I says it’s because there is no way a girl that looks like her would marry a guy that looks like him. Just sayin’. 5 years later, Griffin is the lead zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo, having gotten promoted because of how much, and how well, he cares for the animals. Working with him is the zoo veterinarian, Kate (Rosario Dawson), the reptile house zookeeper Venom (Ken Jeong), and another zookeeper Shane (Donnie Wahlberg). At a party in celebration of his brother, Dave (Nat Faxon)’s wedding, Stephanie starts to regret breaking up with Griffin and starts trying to get back into his life. This is when the animals get involved. Apparently, they can all talk. The main animals are Joe the Lion (Sylvester Stallone), his Lioness Janet (Cher), Donald the Monkey (Adam Sandler), Barry the Elephant (Judd Apatow), Jerome and Bruce the Grizzly Bears (Jon Favreau and Faizon Love), Mollie the really annoying Giraffe (Maya Rudolph), and Bernie the Gorilla (Nick Nolte), although Bernie is depressed and doesn’t join the group when they meet to discuss Griffin. They start giving him shitty advice on how to land Stephanie again. Later, Stephanie’s ex, Gale (Joe Rogan), comes back into the picture and starts a conflict with Griffin over Stephanie. Griffin also uses Kate to make Stephanie jealous. Eventually, Griffin does get back together with Stephanie, and she convinces him to leave the zoo to work with his brother at the car dealership. This makes Kate accept a job in Africa. Griffin realizes that he’s not being the man he wants to be and goes back to the zoo, but then has to chase down Kate on her way to the airport. Happily ever after. … I mean the movie ended. That was my happily ever after.
This movie sucked. That’s not a surprise, right? What IS a surprise is why does a movie suck when so many people I would consider talented are involved? I’ve seen movies (okay, A movie) with Kevin James in it that I liked, but I heard good things about that TV show he was on. I’ve seen a couple Sandler movies that were funny. Ken Jeong is funny, Joe Rogan is funny, Rosario Dawson can be funny AND is a very talented actress. But what is the deal with James and Sandler? Together they have been making movies recently that are so bad that the only thing funny about them is the jokes made ABOUT the movie. This movie, as expected, was not funny. Zero percent laughs. The story? Not very good either. It is just a step up from other kids movies that seemed to have caught on to the fact that they really don’t need to rely heavily on writing because children will think talking animals is enough reason to see a movie. I would like to say this to such movies: the fact that you CAN make an animal talk in a movie does not serve as a premise for a movie. I would say I could write a better script in my sleep, but when I woke up at the end of this movie, I had no such script. Either way, it’s bad. Most of the humor relies on gross humor (like flinging lion phlegm into Kevin James’ face) and slapstick humor (like Kevin James inexplicably flying around a wedding party on sheets hanging from the ceiling, knocking down the bride, and smashing into an ice sculpture). You generally find Kevin James likeable in his movies, regardless of quality, and he is here as well, but I didn’t like how stupid he was written. Who in their right mind would take most of this advice from animals? They don’t get mates the same way we do! Women won’t jump on board with a guy peeing into a plant in a restaurant. And if learning from animals wasn’t the premise of the movie, it’s the very played out “being in love with one girl and ignoring the girl of your dreams that you’ve had all along” crap. I know this kind of thing is fairly realistic, but why be so fascinated with the girl that broke your heart that you ignore Rosario Dawson? Leslie Bibb is fine, sure, but did I mention the other girl is ROSARIO DAWSON?! Fuck that shit. This movie would’ve been over in 20 minutes for me. Get dumped, animals can talk, “Oh wait, I work with Rosario Dawson”, THE END. And if I asked the animals for advice and they came back with “Pee in a plant”, I would then say “Oh yeah, you guys are stupid. That’s why you’re in cages as things for us to look at. I’ll figure this out. Go back to licking your crotches.” On a positive note, the mouth movements for the animals were pretty well executed.
The performances themselves are okay at best, but it’s really hard to notice that when the writing is so bad and they’re the ones delivering those written words to us. Kevin James is mostly mediocre throughout the entire movie and reduces his performance to just poor imitations of animals. He has only one part I thought was funny. That was when one of the animals told him to insult, and immediately compliment, Stephanie to get her interested. Though this shows a fairly low opinion for the intelligence of women, it was executed pretty funny by James. He tells her that he wants dessert and she asks him something and he says “God you’re beautiful … but you’re still here,” and she hops to it and gets him some dessert. Leslie Bibb is very attractive, but didn’t add much by way of performance. Rosario Dawson, on the other hand, actually gave a very real performance in the movie, reminiscent to me of her performance in Clerks 2. In both movies, she really makes you believe that she could go for a guy that looks like Dante or Griffin. The problem with her performance in this movie is that, when she was going head to head with Kevin James, the reality of her performance shined a spotlight on how hammed up his performance was. That’s upstaging, Rosie! Joe Rogan and Ken Jeong appear fairly briefly in the movie, but their parts are the parts in the movie that did the most to fight against this movie’s lack of funny, but there’s only so much they could do. The animals were all pretty consistently annoying. Nick Nolte sounded like Nick Nolte and has the ability to make your ears bleed with how gravely his voice is. And the ape was animatronic or a guy in a suit, and looked very bad. The one in Jackass 3D was more convincing. The rest of the animals were real or CG. Adam Sandler and Maya Rudolph chose very irritating voices and performances for their animals and I dreaded them speaking again. Sylvester Stallone played the lion as very disinterested in what was happening in the movie, but that’s probably just because Sly probably was disinterested. Cher, on the other hand, was good.
This movie wastes a pretty solid cast with a bad premise, poor story, and complete lack of funniness. There are some good performances, namely Joe Rogan and Ken Jeong for the comedy and Rosario Dawson for her realism, but none good enough to sit through the movie to see them. Kids may enjoy the movie, but there’s no reason to let those little shits control your lives. Zookeeper gets “Tragic misread of situation” out of “You don’t wanna know”.
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