We Bought a Zoo Review

"Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage... And I promise you, something great will come of it."

Tools

by Britni McDonald

It's pretty much what I expected it to be-- a fun family film that makes you smile. It won't leave you reeling from brilliant performances, but it takes a unique concept of owning a zoo, throws Matt Damon in a new kind of role, and makes you laugh. But if you're an animal lover like myself, it's not hard to please us. Throw animals in any kind of awkward or funny situation in a movie, and we'll enjoy it. But was it enough to sustain interest?

While the concept is unique-- a man grieving from the loss of his wife needing a new start finds a home that just so happens to come with a zoo-- it's obviously pretty unrealistic. And the lackluster attempt at tugging at the heartstrings and dealing with family issues left you wanting to get back to scenes of cute animals in funny situations. The several cutaway scenes to him sitting in the kitchen sniffling while looking at pictures of his late wife seemed out of place and lacked impact. While his "20 seconds of courage" speech was inspiring, his broken relationship with his son seemed forced and never really resolved.

What I was most disappointed by was that a movie obviously targeted towards families and children (almost the entire theater was children) would have foul language in it. It was unnecessary and inappropriate.

As for the acting, this was definitely a new kind of role for Matt Damon. When I go to see a movie of his, I look forward to his Will Hunting quips or Jason Bourne fighting skills or really just... looking at him. But he was anything but a sexy brainiac with kung-fu skills in this one. They made him look just as his role should have-- like a dad. I think it was really the hair that took it to that level. Really I think it's been since The Informant that I've wondered if he'll ever get back to his sexy Good Will Hunting/Bourne Identity days. As for his performance, it wan't anything to write home about. I question what his thought process was in taking on a role like this, but there's no question he's a good actor.

Overall, "cute" would sum it up-- a good Friday night rental for the family.

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