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915888 - Zookeeper“Zookeeper,” or as any Kevin James movie could be called, “Fat Guy Falling Down… A Lot,” plays like “Dr. Doolittle” if “Dr. Doolittle” was a romantic comedy for kids.

James is Griffin, a schlubby zookeeper who has never really recovered from being dumped by his girlfriend (Leslie Bibb) five years earlier. When she turns up in his life again, he is determined to win her back. Problem is, he has no confidence. When the zoo animals catch wind of his dilemma they decide to help him out by becoming his life coaches. After all, animals are experts in mating.

Your enjoyment of “Zookeeper” will depend on two things. One, your tolerance for talking animals. Two, whether or not you find Kevin James charming. If your answer to either is yes, or if you are under ten years of age, then “Zookeeper” might hold some promise for you. If not, go see “Tree of Life.” It has dinosaurs but none of them speak.

“Zookeeper” carefully adheres to the Kevin James Comedy Template ™: goofy guys tries to get the hot girl and even though it may seem like an un likely pairing, he’s sweet and inevitably irresistible. This is basically “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” with animals and Rosario Dawson. That means it’s a sweet-natured if largely forgettable. There are good messages for kids about accepting people for who they are and respect for animals, but mostly this is an old school comedy with pratfalls for the kids and a bit of romance for the parents sitting next to them in the theatre.

There are a couple of very funny scenes. There’s visit to TGIFridays that no veterinarian would condone and the monkey from “The Hangover 2” (starring in his second big film of the year! Who is this primate’s agent?) has some of the film’s best lines. Adam Sandler, who also produced the movie, provides the monkey voice, but also listen for the vocal work of Cher, Nick Nolte, Don Rickles and Sylvester Stallone.

“Zookeeper” is harmless family fun, with a few more giggles for the kids (who might not get the romantic stuff) than the parents (who might not care about the poop jokes). Luckily for Kevin James, and “Zookeeper’s” audience almost everyone laughs when someone falls down.

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