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We Bought a Zoo (review)

We Bought a Zoo Colin Ford Matt Damon

This week on ‘We Bought a Zoo’: It’s hilarious chaos all around for the Mee family as mopey teen Dylan (Colin Ford) accidentally leaves a delivery crate of snakes open and drunken Scottish gamekeeper MacCready (Angus Macfadyen) wants to kill the visiting USDA inspector (John Michael Higgins). Next week: tune in for a very special episode as Dad (Matt Damon) and Dylan finally bond over keeping alive the adorable-moppet hopes and dreams of little Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones). Don’t miss the spinoff: ‘We Bought a Cafe,’ coming to CBS this fall! I was gonna say that whatever edge Cameron Crowe once had is officially gone, if he’s now giving us pallid, pleasant sitcoms. But suddenly I’m starting to wonder if Crowe ever had any edge at all. Could it be that Say Anything… didn’t really say anything, either? Way to crush my Xer nostalgia, Crowe — thanks a bunch. (But Almost Famous was awesome, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it? *sob*) Based on the real-life escapades of journalist Benjamin Mee [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.], this gloss on the crazy hard work it takes to run a zoo — it’s a zoo, for pete’s sake, full of wild endangered creatures, not a house full of pussy cats — is everything you expect it to be, and not one teensy tiny thing more. (It could easily have been We Bought a Bookshop or We Bought a School and it would have been exactly the same movie.) Grieving widower Benjamin (Damon: Happy Feet Two) desperately needs a change in his life, so he up and moves Rosie and Dylan to a rundown zoo — a rundown zoo; who does that? — which totally reinvigorates all of them. Probably due to the endless mugging of cutie-pie Rosie, who could simply cure anyone of their blues, awww… It could be much, much worse: it could be Ben Stiller as Benjamin (it almost was, apparently) and Shawn Levy directing: indeed, this is basically Night at the Museum minus the CGI horrors and overblown guilty-father melodrama to make you want to kill yourself. But that don’t mean that Scarlett Johansson’s (Iron Man 2) head zookeeper won’t knock Benjamin right outta his grief, you betcha…

US/Canada release date: Dec 23 2011 | UK release date: Mar 30 2012

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated TBAZ: they bought a zoo
MPAA: rated PG for language and some thematic elements
BBFC: rated PG (contains mild language)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes