Animals, Smart; Zookeeper, Dumb 

[Rating: 2]  

Director: Frank Coraci

Cast & Crew: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb

Plot: 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 a girl in his life is to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job. 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. 

Review: Griffin proposed to beautiful Stephanie five years ago and was turned down, because she’s just not his type. She couldn’t probably marry a zookeeper and that leaves him broken-hearted but he hasn’t forgotten her. When she gets invited to his brother’s wedding reception, he is completely lost for words on seeing her and manages to completely ruin his carefully prepared for wedding speech. Stephanie confides that she thinks Griffin has the potential and that maybe she loves him but that she just can’t decide.

All the animals heard that, and it becomes the topic of the night and all of them meet to discuss how matters could take a turn this time. Each one is acquainted with the five-year-old break-up and don’t want their sweet Griffin to suffer anymore. This time, they decide to make a plan. The Lion comes up with a plan to make him look like a hero; it backfires badly and they break the golden rule of “never talking to humans”.

Griffin is freaked out by talking animals at first, but he soon gets used to it and starts taking advice from them to make sure that this time he’ll get Stephanie to marry him. Following a strange bunch of antics taught to him by the animals, he behaves in a really strange and idiotic manner. A gorilla named Bernie tells Griffin that he is the best friend that he has ever had, because he takes Bernie out to TGI Fridays and all over the city at night.

This one has jokes and acting that seems way over the top, even for a Happy Madison production. I can imagine talking animals, and even go to the extent of all of them giving advice to a human, but the way that Kevin James takes it forward is pretty lame and destroys whatever the joke was supposed to mean.

The animals seem to have better dialogues (and even better dialogue delivery) than Kevin’s acting, and is probably the only dialogues you’ll actually be laughing at. The only other redeeming factor is Rosario Dawson, as the doctor of the zoo, and she manages to be sweet and fun and pretty much keeps everything in place. 

Verdict: Missing out on this won’t leave you feeling guilty. 

Avneet Ghai

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