User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 134 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 134

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  1. Mar 1, 2013
    To be honest, I wanted to turn this off after the first five minutes. I stuck with it for 15 mores minutes, then I shut it off. This is one big piece of (you fill in the word). Contrived, maudlin, predictable. When the 5-6 year old in a film is smarted and wiser than everyone else, it's time to bail.

    I suppose if you want a nice, predictable movie for kids under 10-12, then this
    would be a good choice. Otherwise, adults will be running to their doctors to have their blood sugar tested because this film is so sickeningly sweet.

    I have nothing against good family films. I really do enjoy them. This movie is a manipulator of the worse kind; and a bad one at that.
  2. Jan 6, 2013
    The movie was very pleasent to watch, but overall it was very predictable and cheesy. Its one of those movies, that you will watch partly enjoy. But after a few weeks you will forget about it.
  3. Oct 19, 2012
    As much of a sensitive, empathetic person that I am, I could not click properly with the characters and even for the film it was, reality went out of the window. I got sick of the angelic soundtrack halfway through the film of which it degenerated into a sickly pile of sugar. The acting of the main characters couldn't have saved it, and the only things I liked were the animals, and, for a comedy-drama which went on for a whole 2 hours, the only things I laughed at were the countless clichés that me and my dad could easily predict from the start. Expand
  4. AMC
    Aug 7, 2012
    I was extremely disappointed. This movie was advertised as a children's movie...marketed toward kids. The language in this movie was TERRIBLE. the 's' word, 'dick', etc. should have been rated PG13. Also the story line was more a PG13 level. I had my 7 year old with me - very shocked this was rated PG. I have no problem with language, as long as it's rated appropriately. Also line about little sister still believing in the Easter Bunny - What is that about - ruined it for my 7 year old - TERRIBLE. Expand
  5. Apr 23, 2012
    Pleasant enough but bland, innocuous and cliché ridden. The worst offender being a cheesy, non-ironic montage. Perfect tv movie style fare for a wet Wednesday afternoon but don't waste a Friday or Saturday evening with it.
  6. Apr 6, 2012
    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 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.
  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!
  8. Dec 27, 2011
    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 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. Expand
  9. Dec 26, 2011
    I feel compelled to write a review although I'm usually not the type to bother. I expected a movie with real heart, and a score by Jonsi to boot. I was dissapointed. The acting was phoned in, and the dialog eye-roll inducing. Matt Damon phones it in, and his little daughter is given lines designed to earn a cheap awww like "we bought a zoo!" which she says multiple times. The way emotion is expressed via loudly shouting things including "why do you hate me man?!" which Damon yells at his son in an emotional confrontation. The director missed a real opportunity to play with the idea of what happens when a whimsical purchase meets reality, and overcoming obstacles, but instead all problems are solved via deus ex machina and quick montages of people carrying around wooden planks and hammering nails. Rent when it comes out on dvd, if you must. Expand
  10. Dec 26, 2011
    Even Matt Damon's acting doesn't save this film from ending up dry and stale. We Bought a Zoo has absolutely no heart. Oscar or Not? No, except maybe for soundtrack.
  11. Dec 25, 2011
    Damon's acting is the highlight of the film. This film has almost no emotion and it ends up flat and stale. Even Matt Damon doesn't save this film from being a failure.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 40
  2. Negative: 3 out of 40
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew Lowry
    Mar 16, 2012
    It's slight, sure, and there's a better, less-glossy film buried in the material, but warm performances redeem Crowe's agreeable return.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Mar 12, 2012
    Zoo is the antithesis of edgy, an overlong, all encompassing experience that despite Crowe's integrity and lightness of touch doesn't deliver the emotional experience of, say, "Jerry Maguire" or "Almost Famous." Still, it is good to have the righteous dude back.