We Bought a Zoo (2 stars)

We Bought a Zoo

Dishearteningly average movie from Cameron Crowe


Disappointingly, after Elizabethtown, writer/director Cameron Crowe is just as bogged down in the valley of mediocrity with his new offering. The story of Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon), a recently widowed father-of-two who gives up his successful job and buys and sets about saving a dilapidated zoo – the clue is in the title – is based on a real-life memoir, but it still feels expressly fashioned to let the Jerry Maguire director indulge all of his most sentimental tendencies. Worse, the contribution of Crowe’s co-writer, bland rom-com hack Aline Brosh McKenna (27 Dresses, Morning Glory), seems to have been to veto the kind of sharp humour and unique characterisation that have allowed Crowe’s best works (chiefly Almost Famous) to endure. Scenes that aim for broad, family-friendly comedy fall flat, and great support actors Patrick Fugit, Elle Fanning and Thomas Haden Church are wasted in empty roles. Crowe’s sincerity as a filmmaker is both his greatest strength and weakness, and it’s the weaknesses that make the biggest impact in this dishearteningly average movie.

General release from Fri 16 Mar

We Bought A Zoo - Official Trailer [HD]

We Bought a Zoo

  • 2 stars
  • 2011
  • USA
  • 2h 4min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Cameron Crowe
  • Written by: Cameron Crowe, Aline Brosh McKenna
  • Cast: Matt Damon, Scarlet Johansson

The clue is in the title: recently widowed father-of-two Benjamin (Damon) quits his job and sets about saving a dilapidated zoo. The sharp humour and unique characterisation that characterised Crowe's best work seems to have been vetoed; great actors are wasted in empty roles and the result is broad, sentimental and…

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