Awfully Good: Zookeeper

Adam Sandler gave us BILLY MADISON and HAPPY GILMORE, but he also decided Kevin James should be a movie star. Before he subjects you to the horrors of JACK AND JILL, take a look at this year's other Happy Madison tragedy.

Zookeeper (2011)

Director: Frank Coraci
Stars: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Adam Sandler

Is there a plot?

HITCH, except with animals instead of Will Smith.

What's the damage?

ZOOKEEPER is a great movie to test and see if your kids are assholes. If they laugh, they have terrible taste in humor and film and you should probably return them from whence they came. If they cry and complain about how unfunny and painful it is, then congratulations…you have passed on good genetic material. Dare I say it, this might be worse than anything Rob Schneider’s done. I mean, there's a scene in this family comedy where Kevin James pees on a live wolf and you're expected to laugh.

That's funny, I also cried in a bathtub after watching this movie.

What on Earth could precipitate the "King of Queens" star soaking a woodland creature in his own urine? Love, of course! I wasn't kidding; this really is like HITCH—a terrible romantic comedy more than a terrible kids movie. This time, instead of Will Smith, Kevin James is so functionally retarded he has to receive social training from different species to woo the woman he loves. He's so desperate for advice that he almost immediately gets over the fact that they're freaking talking animals and starts doing exactly what they say. This includes such great ideas as the aforementioned marking of territory, herding women like cattle, displaying your "pudding cup" while walking like a bear, attacking competing suitors like a frog and of course riding an ostrich until it dies.

I was going to make a joke about a live action BERENSTAIN BEARS movie but didn't want to give the studio any ideas.

To accomplish this, producer Sandler and longtime director pal Frank Coraci clearly called in all their favors for what is one of the most hodgepodge voice casts ever assembled. There's Sylvester Stallone and Cher as a bickering married lion couple, JoBlo house DJ Jon Favreau and Faizon Love as a pair of grizzly bears who poop in each other's water bowls, Sandler himself as a capuchin monkey obsessed with bodily functions, comedy legend Don Rickles as a bullfrog, Nick Nolte as an abused gorilla, and Judd Apatow as an elephant. (Apatow gives Adam Sandler FUNNY PEOPLE, Sandler gives him this.) And what about the humans? The film also stars a Wahlberg brother and Ken Jeong, who continues his quest to be in every movie that will pay him in cash, playing a pervy reptile expert named Venom. But it's poor, poor Rosario Dawson whose inclusion boggles the mind the most. First Dante in CLERKS II, now Kevin James in this. Does Dawson not realize how hot she is, or is she just giving false hope to her nerdy fanbase? Because if all it takes to get her in bed is to do a dance on some flying scarves, I'm pretty sure I could do a better job than Kevin James.

GORILLAS IN THE FIST? Wow, they're making porn parodies out of everything now.

The stupidest part of a movie comprised entirely of stupidity, however, is the subplot with Bernie the physically abused gorilla. How's this for your family film: as soon as they reveal they can talk, the animals tell James that one of his employees mistreats them on a daily basis, feeding them rotten food and stabbing them with a nail taped to a stick. Kevin James admits he had no idea this was happening and then proceeds to DO NOTHING ABOUT IT FOR THE REST OF THE MOVIE. Instead, the zookeeper befriends Bernie, who has been put in solitary confinement for years thanks to the bad man, and takes him to T.G.I. Fridays to make up for it…but still lets the asshole work at the zoo and endanger the animal populace. At one point, as part of the film's inane romantic plot, James actually quits his job, leaving the evil zookeeper in charge to further terrorize the animals. When he predictably returns in the end, the gorilla is a battered housewife with a black eye…but hey, it's okay because James promises to take him to happy hour at Friday's again! Problem solved!

And like that, a new euphemism for masturbation is born.

Aside from all the bizarre product placement (the animal cruelty-T.G.I. Fridays subplot, Kevin James pulling a Red Bull can out of a choking lion's throat), the other part of ZOOKEEPER worth mentioning is the ending, which is a cliché "race to beat the girl to the airport" sequence…except this version involves Kevin James kidnapping a gorilla and traveling by ostrich, car, kayak and monkey to stop her just in the nick of time. Then all the animals sing Boston’s "More Than a Feeling" and I hope this movie dies in a fire.

"Best" Line

Adam Sandler is a monkey. This ends exactly how you think it ends.

"Best" Parts

1) A wolf teaches Kevin James how to pee. Then Kevin James pees on the wolf. Hilarious!

2) The tragic story of a gorilla that has been horribly abused by another zookeeper, but it's okay because…T.G.I. Fridays!

3) Let's just call this montage "The Worst of Kevin James."

Nudity Watch

The animals don't wear clothes, if that's your thing.


Punish your children! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • There's product placement
  • Kevin James gets injured or attempts physical comedy
  • Kevin James reaches inside an animal
  • Kevin James sings or dances
  • An animal makes a poop joke

Double shot if:

  • Kevin James rides an ostrich
  • Kevin James pees on a wolf

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or send him a Tweet and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: Digital Dorm
Tags: awfully good



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