Frank Coraci has made a living doing films with Adam Sandler (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Click) and Kevin James (Here Comes the Boom and this movie). Sandler and James helped write this take on the “only one man can hear animals” trope and here we are — with me being a completist that needs to see every Stallone movie.
Griffin Keyes (James) proposes to Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), who rejects him because he’s a zookeeper. His heart is broken and five years pass before he runs into her again. Griffin’s brother Dave offers him a job at his car dealership and tries to get them back together, but obviously, our hero loves animals. And they love him so much that they decide to break the code and speak directly to him.
The central issue that this film gets wrong is that zoo vet Kate (Rosario Dawson), who he uses to get Stephanie jealous, is a million times beyond her in coolness and hotness levels.
Humans that appear include Joe Rogan as Stephanie’s boyfriend, Ken Jeong as a reptile house workers, Donnie Wahlberg as an evil zookeeper, and James’ real-life wife Steffiana de la Cruz.
Let us speak of the animals. Bernie the Gorilla was played by Tom Woodruff, Jr., the Academy Award-winning effects master of. Death Becomes Her and voiced by Nick Nolte. Crystal the Monkey plays Donald the Tufted Capuchin with Sandler providing the voice. Stallone is in here as Joe the Lion, alongside Judd Apatow as an elephant, Cher as Joe the Lion’s wife Janet, Jon Favreau as Jermo the bear, Faizon Love as another bear, Maya Rudolph as a giraffe, Bas Rutten (!) as a wolf, Don Rickles as a bullfrog, Jim Breuer as a crow and Richie Minervini as an ostrich.
It’s exactly the kind of movie you think it is. If you hate puerile junk with talking animals, you’re going to hate it. Perhaps by the context clues you’ve guessed my stance.