Thursday, May 31, 2012

Movie Review: We Bought A Zoo

Blurb: Though adapted from a memoir by a British journalist, We Bought a Zoo feels entirely like a Cameron Crowe film, with clear parallels to previous crowd-pleasers like Jerry Maguire. Crowe introduces Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon in a role that recalls his Contagion character) six months after the death of his wife. Since everything reminds him of her, the California columnist decides to make a change, starting with a new location. His realtor (Curb Your Enthusiasm's J.B. Smoove), brother (Sideways' Thomas Haden Church), and sullen teenage son (Colin Ford) try to talk him out of it, but Mee falls in love with a country manor that comes with a strange stipulation: the tenant must manage the zoo that accompanies the property. With his daughter's blessing, Mee takes the plunge. Fortunately, he inherits an experienced staff, including MacCready (Angus MacFadyen), Robin (Patrick Fugit), Lily (Elle Fanning), and Kelly (Scarlett Johansson, lovely as ever in her least glamorous role to date). Mee's road to reinvention offers few surprises, but Damon makes him a sympathetic figure who finds the same kind of support system among the park personnel that Fugit's Almost Famous writer found in the rock world, except Mee's relationships have more staying power.

Review: This movie was just so darn good. I've never seen a film with Matt Damon! I know, how did that happen? But this is definitely a good way to see him at his best or at least most human.

He felt very real as the widower of two young children, trying to make a change in his life. Things aren't easy for him without his wife. The cast is superb, a perfect blend of quirky and smart. Then there are the animals. For the most part, they take a back seat to the action in the story, except for Spar, the old tiger with failing kidneys.

Yes, that is the movie's cry moment. You know there had to be one. All feel good films have them. It makes you love them more for some reason.

So yeah, the tiger will have you crying your eyes out, but don't worry, it is a feel good movie and that means everything works out in the end, and that's not so bad.

This movie has plenty of laugh out loud moments, especially with Benjamin's daughter, who is just too darn cute.

Definitely a good weekend movie! And one I wouldn't mind watching a second time.

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