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Film / Zookeeper

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Zookeeper is a 2011 comedy film starring Kevin James as Griffin Keyes, a zookeeper who needs a better job so he can impress his girlfriend. The animals at the zoo, however, don't want him to leave, so they start talking to him and try to help him get the girl while still continuing to be a zookeeper. In addition to James, the movie also features Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, and the voices of Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, Maya Rudolph, Cher, and Jon Favreau.

This film provides examples of:

  • Brick Joke: Before leaving the zoo to start his new job, Griffin threatens to come to Shane's mother's house and punch him in the face if he finds out that he has been abusing Bernie. Sure enough, before embarking on the final chase, he makes a stop at Shane's mother's house...
  • Chroma Key: A few animals (such as the ostrich) were portrayed not by people wearing a costume (such as Bernie the gorilla) or trained animals (such as Donald the monkey and the bears Jerome and Bruce), but by on-set actors wearing blue costumes that could be edited over with the CGI models of the animals.
  • Covers Always Lie: Downplayed, but Barry the elephant is portrayed as an African Elephant on the promotional poster. In the film, he is an Asian Elephant.
  • Dance Party Ending: At the end credits, the animals sing "More Than a Feeling".
  • Derailing Love Interests: It seems that Griffin's old romantic partner turned out to be a shallow choice of a girlfriend - who wanted him to be someone "successful" and not a zookeeper before being seen with him - and was VERY far from being a Friend to All Living Things (she had furniture and items made of all sorts of endangered animals materials, which is pretty much something Animal Lover Griffin wouldn't just stand for.) That's where Love Epiphany kicks in and Griffin breaks it up and races to catch up with his true (not-so-platonic) close friend before she reaches the airport.
  • Deus ex Machina: After Griffin realizes he can't make catch up to Kate in time, an ostrich that hasn't been seen before rushes into the scene and offers to give Griffin a ride ... only for him to be too heavy to ride the bird.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Gale wouldn't have fallen off his bike if he hadn't insisted on pestering Griffin instead of just racing ahead of him.
  • Eye Scream: When Griffin realizes that Shane's abusing Bernie the gorilla again.
    Griffin: What happened to your eye?
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: The gorilla pretends to be a human in a costume.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: A portion of the credits shows bloopers for the movie.
  • Jerkass - Gale, the romantic rival competing with Griffin, and Shane, who is revealed to be abusive towards the animals.
  • Job Title: Also One-Word Title and Portmantitle.
  • King of Beasts: Sylvester Stallone's lion, at least until the lioness joins the discussion.
  • Loving a Shadow: It took Griffin changing everything about himself and losing everything he enjoys to get Stephanie's attention for him to finally realize that she isn't the right person for him.
  • Master of Unlocking: The monkey, helping all the zoo animals get together.
  • Mighty Roar: The bears try to teach this.
  • One-Word Title: Also Job Title and Portmantitle.
  • Operation: Jealousy: The protagonist and Kate (Rosario Dawson). Who could have possibly predicted how this would turn out?
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: According to the animals, parrots are the only ones who get away with talking in front of humans.
  • Portmantitle: Also One-Word Title and Job Title.
  • The Pratfall: An excellent flying one after running into a metal bar with his head.
  • Product Placement: T.G.I.Friday's was very prominent in the trailer.
  • Race for Your Love: The last part of the movie, Griffin races (with his gorilla pal, who tried to drive with little success) towards the airport to catch back the woman he realized he truly loved, the veterinarian of the zoo (he thought that they were Just Friends, but realized how much she meant to him while bonding with her at the party which they went together to for Operation: Jealousy). And he manages to catch up to her thanks to the gorilla's great skills at climbing and swinging (applied to an enormous bridge), the film ending with the two animal lovers as an Official Couple.
  • Refuge in Audacity: How do you take a talking gorilla to T.G.I. Friday's? Put him in a T-shirt and claim you're coming from a costume party.
  • Right Behind Me: After Donald the monkey insults Joe the lion, Donald does a back flip and catches a quick glimpse of Joe. He then says this trope verbatim.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sidekick Creature Nuisance: The monkey often behaves in a mocking nature toward the other animals.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Venom's license plate.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: It's like an abstract of the film!
  • Talking Animal: Pretty much all of them talk in secret.
  • Unnecessary Time Precision: In a bid to prevent their beloved caregiver from leaving, the zoo animals talk to him. Griffin, very out of his deep, asks them when they gained the ability to understand and communicate with humans. The monkey, a little bit of a trickster, adopts a pensive pose as if calculating, which is not necessary since they've always been able to do it.
    Griffin: How long have you been able to talk??
    Monkey: Let's see, today's Tuesday, so, ummm... always.
  • Urine Trouble: Inverted: A wolf gets peed on.
  • Vertigo Effect: When Griffin sees Stephanie for the first time in five years, the camera focuses on her using this camera trick.


"The Zookeeper" in cliches

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