Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 126 Ratings

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  • Summary: We Bought a Zoo, a memoir by Benjamin Mee, tells the true account of how the author and his family used their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo, replete with 200 exotic animals facing destruction, in the English countryside. Mee, along with his children, had to balance caring for his wife, who was dying of brain cancer, with dealing with escaped tigers, raising endangered animals, working with an eclectic skeleton crew and readying the zoo for a reopening. (20th Century Fox)

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 40
  2. Negative: 3 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 21, 2011
    Damon can elevate just about anything in which he appears.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 22, 2011
    Scarlett Johansson plays the head zookeeper and she's a lot less mannered than usual.
  3. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jan 9, 2012
    Nothing that happens in this movie is in the least surprising, but it's all quite pleasant and even, at times, moving.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 22, 2011
    A movie you want to like, and a movie you can enjoy if you cut its slackness some slack.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 16, 2012
    It's a bit sucrose, especially at the beginning, but this traditional, sweet-natured family film will tug on the heartstrings.
  6. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Dec 22, 2011
    A modestly charming family crowd-pleaser despite too-broad characterizations by many in the supporting cast.
  7. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Dec 11, 2011
    Far more concerned with pratfalling animal shenanigans and unearned uplift than crafting a single complex or amusing moment, it's a film caged in by formulaic plotting and plentiful pap.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 48
  2. Negative: 6 out of 48
  1. Dec 23, 2011
    This is a movie about people who buy a zoo. They buy a zoo, very, very easily. They pick up the phone, and the family, the "We" in "We Bought a Zoo" bought a zoo. That's right, a zoo. An area where animals are caged or put into artificial habitats for human entertainment. They bought a zoo. The family. They bought it, as in exchanged something, mostly currency, for an object they wished to posses. In this case, the zoo. They purchases in full. That's right. They. Bought. A. ZOOOOOO! I crap you not. ZOOOOOoooooOOOOO! Expand
  2. Apr 20, 2012
    I loved this movie! I thought this was just another sleepy movie. The animals were adorable, Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) was so cute. This movie was very inspiring not only how to love animals but not to give up even though you're already on the edge of a cliff. It was based on a true story and I would love to visit that zoo. Expand
  3. Aug 11, 2013
    I was pleasantly surprised by "We Bought a Zoo" I was expecting a crappy family film, but We Bought a Zoo is actually a very good movie, the first time you see it, you don't like it so well, but it grows on you, and personally, One of my top 15 movies. Expand
  4. BKM
    Jul 1, 2012
    We Bought a Zoo is easy enough to roll your eyes at and write off as corn, but if you accept it for what it is you may be pleasantly surprised. Cameron Crowe wades through just about every cliche imaginable but still manages to wring genuine emotion out of this fact based story thanks in large part to the exceptional lead performances of Damon and Johanssen. Expand
  5. May 22, 2012
    Damon is good in this film where there is a good mix of funny and sad moments in a calculated sequence resembling a Disney production. Only this one is based on a true story. Expand
  6. Jan 2, 2012
    Will the zoo survive? Will Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson fall in love? Will the angst ridden teenager get over his mother's loss? Will the little girl be cute beyond belief? You know the answers to all these questions before you even set foot in the theater, but I kept hoping for something original to happen to set it apart from all the other similar family films. It didn't happen. Too saccharin sweet and predictable for my taste. I thought the acting was fine throughout, although a couple of people came across as a caricature (the zoo inspector and the long haired zoo employee who acted like a big muppet). Expand
  7. Jan 1, 2012
    ok well so start it is rated PG and with all the swaring it should be rated PG 13 but if they rated it PG 13 it would turn off younger audiences witch to me is a scam! Expand

See all 48 User Reviews


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