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Review: Zookeeper

A MODERN-DAY Dr Dolittle takes advice from the animals in his care to win the woman of his dreams in this surprisingly endearing comedy.

A scene from the film Zookeeper

A MODERN-DAY Dr Dolittle takes advice from the animals in his care to win the woman of his dreams in this surprisingly endearing comedy.

Kevin James isn’t known for subtlety in front of the camera, and here he throws himself into embarrassing situations such as mimicking the territorial behaviour of wolves by urinating in public.

The script completely loses the plot when the eponymous hero takes a gorilla out of his cage for a night on the town, persuading the patrons of one swanky Boston bar that the hulking primate is a friend in costume.

Away from the silliness, we grow fond of the characters and the script manages the occasional moment of silver-tongued tenderness.

Zookeeper Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) is humiliated when his sweetheart rebuffs a marriage proposal.

Five years later, when he’s head keeper at Franklin Park Zoo, treating all of the animals with compassion, she walks back into his life and the animals, led by Joe the lion (voiced by Sylvester Stallone) and Janet the lioness (Cher) decide to break their silence to help him win her back.

Once the keeper recovers from the shock that the beasts can talk, he follows their conflicting advice.

Donald the monkey (Adam Sandler) plus Barry the elephant, Jerome and Bruce the bears, Mollie the giraffe and Sebastian the wolf all have their suggestions, none of which end well. Meanwhile, Griffin becomes friends with Bernie the gorilla (Nick Nolte), who reveals why he doesn’t like fellow keeper Shane (Donnie Wahlberg).

The film makes Griffin the butt of the jokes as he tries to be someone or something he isn’t to find true romance.

Of course, he eventually realises that he only has to be himself to win the fair lady’s heart.

Though the film doesn’t really cast any lingering animal magic, it has enough laughs to keep family audiences engaged during the summer holidays.

 

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