We Bought A Zoo Cameron Crowe

We Bought A ZooCameron Crowe
Cameron Crowe reportedly lured Matt Damon into starring in We Bought a Zoo by sending him an album of Crowe's original songs. None of them appear in the movie, thank God – a great soundtrack is pretty much its only saving grace. Damon plays Benjamin Mee, a widowed journalist caring for a troubled teenaged son (Colin Ford) and precocious young daughter (Maggie Elizabeth Jones). For reasons barely explained, he decides to purchase property containing a zoo. This conclusion takes him a full reel to arrive at, even though a movie titled We Bought a Zoo holds no one in suspense. It might have been wiser to start with the zoo and go from there. When the family finally arrives at the zoo, which is somehow both fully staffed and in complete disrepair, the most interesting conflict – to buy or not buy? – is essentially over. To keep things moving beyond a sloth's pace, Crowe introduces a prickly zoo inspector (John Michael Higgins), whose objections to Mee's inexperience with zoo keeping seem quite reasonable, and a love interest, in staff member Kelly (Scarlett Johansson). If you aren't sure whether Higgins will soften up or Johansson and Damon will fall head over hooves in love, you haven't seen enough movies. A predictable piece of work, with only the greatest hits of Crowe's youth to keep you awake, We Bought a Zoo fails to follow the lead of its protagonist, taking absolutely zero risks. It's strange considering Mee is a real person who really did buy a zoo, and wrote a book about it. Certainly he must have given the idea more thought than his big-screen counterpart. Surely he must have faced deeper challenges than getting chased by a hedgehog. His real-life story must be fascinating. As told here, unfortunately, it's pretty tepid. Regrettably, DVD extras provide only passing illumination on Mee's life. A full DVD commentary from the guy might have helped, while Crowe's comments do help clarify the process of adapting (or watering down) this unusual story. Deleted and extended scenes are included, but serve only to make the final cut seem all the more streamlined. (Fox)