Starring Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Ken Jeong, Donnie Wahlberg, Joe Rogan and the voices of Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Adam Sandler, Maya Rudolph and Judd Apatow.
Directed by Frank Coraci.
Kevin James has found his niche in family films, the bumbling loser who falls and goes splat, but we still root for him. Had Chris Farley lived, it might have been he as the schlubby zookeeper Griffin.
My main problem with this is not the kid-aimed pratfall humor, or that the animals can talk and have, what-do-you-know, intelligence equal to humans, or that Adam Sandler's silly voice for the monkey isn't funny. Or that our friendly neighborhood zookeeper at different points in the movie has women that look like Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb in love with him. Or how overt the product placement is (most egregiously TGI Fridays).
It's the fact that all the movie can imagine to do with this is have the animals give advice to Griffin on wooing women. The lion, the monkey, the bear, etc. all have different tips, and Griffin tries each of them to "hilarious" results. Griffin then learns the true meaning of Christmas, or it's what's on the inside that counts, or something like that, and we get our pat happy ending.
The film's unimaginatively directed by Frank Coraci (Click), who's apparently moved on to James now that Sandler's using Dennis Dugan as his go-to doormat, er, director. James has been sucked into the Sandler vortex, and I'm afraid we've lost him.