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Zookeeper Review

Movies.com Critics

2.0

Dave White Profile

Hitch with lions + bears. Read full review

2.0

Grae Drake Profile

Strangely palatable. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0
    30

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Scott Bowles

    There isn't much in the way of plot to get in the way of Sandler's world: There's poo, ripped pants and hot girls falling for fat guys.

    Read Full Review

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Although one would never have expected to find her in a film like this, Dawson, by dint of enthusiasm, is the only actor who rises above the material with her dignity intact.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Zookeeper (I can't believe I'm even writing this) is a dumbed-down "Paul Blart."

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It's not the romcom that's so entertaining, anyway; it's the slapstick.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Zookeeper reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Pointless comedy is a waste of a talented comedic cast.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this PG-rated Kevin James comedy deals with some grown-up issues about dating and mating that may not interest young kids. The humor, while featuring the predictable amount of animal "poop" and "pee" talk, is largely aimed at older audiences and includes some double entendres about sexual relationships -- marking territory, being forceful, highlighting your genitalia, and other jokes. Language includes words like "idiot," "crap," "shut up," and some scatological terms. Ultimately, the titular zookeeper learns a worthy lesson about just being himself, but by then kids will already have seen him act foolishly for an hour and a half.

  • Families can talk about the appeal of animal-human comedies. Why are they so popular? What makes some succeed and others fail?
  • What does this movie say about romantic relationships? What dating advice works for Griffin, and what doesn't?
  • Who do you think this movie is intended to appeal to? How can you tell?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Even though the movie's overarching message is positive -- that someone should love you for who you are, not who you might become if you nag them enough -- there are many mixed signals about what constitutes someone's worthiness as a mate until the very end. Stephanie is portrayed as beautiful but mean and shallow, yet she's the one that Griffin is interested in for the majority of the film. Meanwhile, he acts surprised that Karen, a colleague, is actually attractive and treats her quite poorly until the end. So is the lesson that men are clueless and until they have an epiphany will reject a beautiful, intelligent woman if someone else is even more beautiful but mean?

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: As a zookeeper, Griffin is a good role model, because he's kind to the zoo animals and has a real passion for his work. But as a man, he makes mind-boggling choices. Anyone can see what an awful person Stephanie is, but Griffin uses his good friend, the equally as beautiful and intelligent Karen, to make his ex jealous and win her back into his life. He makes other questionable decisions while trying to woo Stephanie, including using a method of "tearing her down" (with insults) one moment and "bringing her up" (with compliments) the next. Karen, on the other hand, is consistently smart and generous.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: For most of the movie, the only violence is Griffin's nearly incessant pratfalls (as well as gags in which others also humorously fall). He gets poked twice by a porcupine quill and falls into a pit between two animal enclosures. There's a bicycle race between him and his antagonist (they both get hurt, but it's more comic than violent). The gorilla, Bernie, tells James that another zookeeper was cruel to him. Griffin hits the other zookeeper so hard that he breaks the plaster in the wall.

  • sex false2

    Sex: The entire plot revolves around Griffin trying to win his ex's heart, and she's depicted as gorgeous, often wearing sexy dresses and outfits. Jokes are made about a bride's "flexibility," and a man boasts about how often he and his girlfriend "made out, hard." Some of the animals make double-meaning jokes about how to mate (show her the "goods," thrust out your loins, "take her down," "she had this extra claw and knew how to use it"). Griffin kisses two different women in the film. A Latin-style ballroom dance is rather spicy.

  • language false2

    Language: Language includes "idiot," "hell," "shut up," "crap," "oh my God," and some insults hurled at a woman Griffin is trying to woo: "puppy breath," "hammer thumbs," "freckle chest," etc.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Griffin's brother owns an exotic car dealership that sells Ferrari, Mercedes, Ducati, and other luxury vehicle brands. Other product placements include Red Bull, TGI Friday's (which is the location of a key scene), and Benihana.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several scenes are at wedding-related events -- engagement party, rehearsal dinner, and wedding reception -- where adults are shown drinking. There's also drinking at the TGI Friday's. Sabrina, The Teenage Witch is shown on TV (which isn't coincidental, since the movie was co-written by the actor who voiced Salem the talking cat).

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