Friday, January 20, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: We bought a Zoo

Director: Cameron Crow

Screenplay by: Aline Brosh McKenna and Cameron Crowe

Based on the Book by: Benjamin Mee


Matt Damon Benjamin Mee
Scarlett Johansson Kelly Foster
Thomas Haden Church Duncan Mee
Colin Ford Dylan Mee
Maggie Elizabeth Jones Rosie Mee
Angus MacFadyen Peter MacCready
Elle Fanning Lily Miska

Benjamin Mee's a single father in trouble. It's just six months since his wife, Kathryn, died. His son's just been expelled from his school for stealing and creating some pretty disturbing (cool) art and his little girl Rosie really needs a place to sleep where the neighbor's "happy" isn't quite so loud.

So, he goes out looking for a new place to live with a brand-new realtor and his daughter in tow. None of the homes are quite right until he stumbles upon a house that both he and Rosie fall instantly in love with.

The problem is, this house comes with a zoo. The State's keeping the place up, but there's only a limited time that's going to be possible. Benjamin and Rosie are still in love with the idea of the house and the zoo--and Benjamin drops the money down to purchase the zoo without consulting his son, Dylan. While he doesn't have a future in the school he was enrolled with, he doesn't want to leave his home and his friends.

Running a zoo isn't precisely a picnic. While the place does come with its very own quirky staff, the enclosures are badly in need of repair and the animals need expensive vetting. Plus, father and son are still at odds.

I hesitate to call We Bought a Zoo a feel-good film. This story covers everything from the birth and naming of baby peacock hatchlings to dealing with an aging and ill Tiger. For people like me who want a tissue warning, there aren't that many tears. A couple of tissues will do and there are many more smiles than tears.

Honestly, the film was worth full price, though I'm glad we got in at matinee. I'm not sure I'll purchase the DVD. While the story's good, it's not one I would choose to see more than once. 

Rebecca McFarland Kyle

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