In a newly announced Kevin James movie, The Zookeeper, he will play a man who gets romance advice from his animals. Process. I’ll wait… According to Variety, said animals try to “teach the keeper their methods of dating and mating to help him win back the woman of his dreams.” Rosario Dawson has just signed on to costar, so without knowing anything more about the plot of the Happy Madison production, I’d say she’s playing either the dreamgirl or the girl James ends up with when he finally realizes that the dreamgirl is a nightmare. I’m leaning toward the latter because Leslie Bibb (Talladega Nights) has also joined the cast, and I think she’d be easier for audiences to hate.
So is this the most ridiculous romantic comedy ever or is it guaranteed to open at No. 1? Gut reaction: Both. But if I had to choose only one, I’d go with box office gold. People (like me*) were willing to watch James ride a Segway in Paul Blart: Mall Cop; they’ll definitely line up to see him talk to animals. (They will talk, right? I’m hoping for a hyena, voiced by Steve Buscemi, that sabotages him.) If you think you’re not one of those people, ask yourself this: The last time you were at a zoo and saw two animals being affectionate, did you or did you not tap the person standing next to you to make sure that he or she was seeing it, too? That’s whether it was two otters holding hands or two chimps traumatizing schoolchildren. Note: I do suspect that The Zookeeper will focus on the “dating” and not the “mating,” but I eagerly await stories from director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy) about how the MPAA forced him to trim certain scenes to avoid an R rating.
* For work.
addCredit(“James: Robert Voets/CBS; Lions: Kevin Schafer/zefa/Corbis”)