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All the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love their kindhearted caretaker, Griffin Keyes (Kevin James). Finding himself more comfortable with a lion than a lady, Griffin decides the only way to get the girl of his dreams is to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job to win her over. The animals, in a panic, decide to break their time-honored code of silence and reveal their biggest secret: they can talk! To keep Griffin from leaving, they decide to teach him the rules of courtship – animal style! Also featuring the voices of Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler and Sylvester Stallone.
Picture talking animals giving mating advice to a zookeeper who's an absolute loser with women, add a hefty dose of slapstick humor, and you've pretty much summed up Zookeeper. Griffin is a disaster with the ladies, as was proved by his failed marriage proposal to the self-absorbed Stephanie several years ago, but he's really good with animals. The animals have listened to Griffin pine over Stephanie for years, so when they overhear Stephanie saying that perhaps her rejection of Griffin was too hasty, they take action. They decide to help Griffin rekindle the relationship and become the alpha male that Stephanie wants him to be. The animals are masters at mating, but their plan to show Griffin how to act quickly breaks down and they inadvertently begin talking out loud to him. After his initial shock, Griffin starts to take the animals' advice seriously--from how to walk and roar to the extreme of marking his territory. Surprisingly, the animals' advice really works and Griffin is about to get everything he's ever dreamed of--or is he? There's plenty of star power in this film--from Kevin James as Griffin, to the voice talents of Sylvester Stallone as Joe the lion and Cher as his lioness, Adam Sandler as Donald the monkey, and Nick Nolte as Bernie the gorilla--but somehow they're all somewhat underwhelming. This film has more than its share of cheap laughs, often at the expense of some part of Griffin's body, and some viewers will find that just right for a night's entertainment. Those looking for a moral to the story will discover that it's wise to be careful what you wish for and that what you think you want may not be anything like what you really need. Zookeeper isn't a great film destined for repeated watchings, but it's not meant to be--it's a comedy that will make you laugh a bit today and forget it the second you leave the theater. (Ages 10 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
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