Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 40
  2. Negative: 3 out of 40
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Dec 11, 2011
    25
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    Dec 22, 2011
    30
    The realities that Crowe creates all seem like pleasant enough places to be, but you'd never mistake them for real life. The fuzzy, squishy world of We Bought a Zoo may be the Cameron Crowe-iest of them all.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 22, 2011
    30
    Crowe has made a meretricious weepie that rouges the facts and defeats the attempts of Matt Damon, with his considerable charm and skill, to breathe some emotional truth into it. There's a word for the strenuous, shameless plucking of an audience's emotions that this movie traffics in: cornography.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 143 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 50
  2. Negative: 6 out of 50
  1. Apr 6, 2012
    4
    We Bought a Zoo is a movie for all the family and it is just to have a good time. The topic is peculiar, but not so attractive; and thatWe Bought a Zoo is a movie for all the family and it is just to have a good time. The topic is peculiar, but not so attractive; and that happen because of the title, it tells you the main part of the plot and also it is not very catchy. But what seems a typical American story transform into an interesting conflict between a family that lost its pillar (the mother) who is struggling with its past, and this fight it can be notice in the desperate father, the misunderstood boy and the innocent daughter.
    What turns into a very promising movie fails in the development of the actions. The sequence is extremely predictable and the cute moments were overused.
    However the plot rises again with two things: repeated characters (Benjamin and Dylan have the same personality; and the something similar occur with Kelly and Lily) and the concept of 20 Seconds of Insane Courage. Although all this is wasted because of the predictable and never ending plot.
    The direction and the script are really poor; the performances are up to the movie and the theme turns to be interesting, but all the ups and downs in the plot make this film tedious to watch.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 27, 2011
    3
    Three of us went to this movie yesterday. My wife and adult son liked it, but I did not. I felt the plot and outcome were very predictableThree of us went to this movie yesterday. My wife and adult son liked it, but I did not. I felt the plot and outcome were very predictable in this story. In my opinion the writer overreached to come up with all the "feel good" outcomes possible and crammed them into one movie. So if you want to see a movie where all the people relationships turn out hunky-dorry and all the problems find speedy, nice solutions, go to this one and soak it in. If you prefer something a little more realistic that keeps you guessing, go to any other show that's out there right now and it will be better. Full Review »
  3. Dec 27, 2011
    7
    Sure, it's a bit of a letdown for a Cameron Crowe movie, but judged in isolation, it's a heartwarming flick, and Thomas Hayden Church isSure, it's a bit of a letdown for a Cameron Crowe movie, but judged in isolation, it's a heartwarming flick, and Thomas Hayden Church is hilarious in it - in a small role. The actor who plays the son isn't quite up to the task, and Elle Fanning over-acts to a fault, but, surprisingly, Scarlett Johansson is better in this than just about anything I've seen her in. The restrained sexuality is what does it for her. You don't have to bed the owner in the first scene to have value in the movie, Scar.... Full Review »