‘Zookeeper’ is a kiddie romcom about Griffin, an affable, portly fellow (James) who loves his job caring for the animals at an unspecified city zoo. But there’s something missing… If only he could somehow re-woo Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), the flash, flakey floozy who dumped him five years earlier, his life would surely be complete. At this juncture, one of the zoo’s lions (voiced by Sly Stallone) suddenly cracks a quip, and the rest of the animals follow suit, including a monkey (Adam Sandler) you’ll soon come to despise. In one of the most ridiculous scenarios to have ever soiled the screen, the unfeasibly cunning creatures hatch a plan to reunite the couple… but not before Griffin has been coaxed into learning a few basic animal instincts.
The film’s amusing opener shows some promise but the moment the animals start mouthing off and uttering bum-sniffing jokes, we know which way it’s heading. With the exception of Nick Nolte’s likeably gruff gorilla, all the voice cast are poorly matched. But that’s just one foible in a catalogue of errors driven by a script that falters at regular intervals and a structure that encompasses a jumble of scenes seemingly cast at random. Still TGI Fridays will be happy with one of the longest product placement scenes in history. Funniest moments? The outtakes during the closing credits. I rest my case.