User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 157 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 157

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User Reviews

  1. 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 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 sexualitySure, 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.... Expand
  2. BKM
    Jul 1, 2012
    7
    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.
  3. Feb 12, 2012
    8
    This is a beautiful movie about the journey of a father raising his kids alone. I love the struggle that he went through, it was extremely verisimillitude. Matt Damon did a fantastic job. Plus, I enjoy the presence of the animals :p
  4. Dec 25, 2011
    7
    This is such a nice film. Especially for the Christmas season. It isn't a great film, but it does what it has to do and really, that's all that matters in films like this.,
  5. Dec 5, 2012
    7
    Have you ever seen a movie where a family loses it's wife/mother and the father is understandably having trouble letting go, the teenager is a complete complete brat about everything because of it, the little girl is almost sickeningly adorable, and they all eventually live happily ever after at the end? If you have then despite the new zoo setting this will be familiar and somewhatHave you ever seen a movie where a family loses it's wife/mother and the father is understandably having trouble letting go, the teenager is a complete complete brat about everything because of it, the little girl is almost sickeningly adorable, and they all eventually live happily ever after at the end? If you have then despite the new zoo setting this will be familiar and somewhat predictable, and because of this part of me wants to use this review to criticize this movie. But despite all the bitterness I have inside me (and trust me there's a lot) I can't deny that this is a good, heart-warming movie. It's backed by fantastic acting and a phenomenal supporting cast. Oh yeah the humor helps as well. All in all I did enjoy the movie despite the sense of deja vu. Expand
  6. May 19, 2013
    7
    We Bought a Zoo is a nice, unpreachy film. It's highs all seem natural and unforced. I feel that this is a bit of a return to form from Cameron Crowe after a relatively fallow period. Good stuff all around.
  7. Apr 7, 2012
    10
    This is one of the few films of 2012 where the screenplay actually worked and there were no loose ends or ambivalent subplots. Matt Damon gives one of the best performances of the year. Scarlett Johanssen as well. There are some exceptions within the cast but even with their over the top performances they cannot take away the essence of this film and it's story. This film is honest.This is one of the few films of 2012 where the screenplay actually worked and there were no loose ends or ambivalent subplots. Matt Damon gives one of the best performances of the year. Scarlett Johanssen as well. There are some exceptions within the cast but even with their over the top performances they cannot take away the essence of this film and it's story. This film is honest. This film is sincere. This film is real. The family dynamics are excellent and the truth is that this film is better than the Descendants. Expand
  8. Jan 7, 2012
    8
    "We Bought a Zoo" is the feel good movie of the holiday season. Before you go to see it be aware that it is rated PG; Matt Damon is not the Jason Bourne Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson is not the Nola Rice (Match Point) Scarlett Johansson or the Christina from Scarlett Johansson from "Vicky Christina Barcelona."

    The real stars of this movie are the animals at the run down zoo that
    "We Bought a Zoo" is the feel good movie of the holiday season. Before you go to see it be aware that it is rated PG; Matt Damon is not the Jason Bourne Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson is not the Nola Rice (Match Point) Scarlett Johansson or the Christina from Scarlett Johansson from "Vicky Christina Barcelona."

    The real stars of this movie are the animals at the run down zoo that Damon's character buys and Maggie Elizabeth Jones as his 7 year old daughter, Rosie. Ms. Jones will break your heart and make you want to take her home with you. The story is uncomplicated and predictable but it still works. Ms. Johansson works her usual magic on the male protagonist but in this movie its rumored that he spent more time in the hair and make up chair than she did. The supporting cast is just fine and the pace of the movie is much better than I expected. The moping teenage son shattered by his mother's death slowly comes around with the help of a teenage crush, the zoo gets opened and everyone has a smile on their face as the credits roll. This movie was made for movie lovers and not for the critics and award shows. Enjoy it for what it is; 2 hours and 15 minutes of light-hearted, feel good entertainment.
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  9. Dec 23, 2011
    10
    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 toThis 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
  10. Oct 14, 2012
    9
    We bought a zoo is not your typical romantic comedy although as a Cameron Crowe film this is unsurprising, although inevitably will still be treated by some going to see it as such. These people are likely to be disappointed and underwhelmed along with those that will complain of the seemingly
  11. Apr 15, 2012
    7
    it's a beautiful movie. This film Motivated me to buy a Zoo. And story about this zoo is wonderful. I cry twice, beause of the dead of the tiger. iT'S A BEAUTIFUL MOVIE
  12. Jan 20, 2012
    8
    I must admit that this movie wasn't even on my radar previously to my seeing it. I knew before I had even seen it that it would be a fairly predictable movie. But all that aside, I have to admit that I really did enjoy this movie. The characters may have been a little cliche and the family problems in this movie is nothing most haven't seen before, but don't let that detract you fromI must admit that this movie wasn't even on my radar previously to my seeing it. I knew before I had even seen it that it would be a fairly predictable movie. But all that aside, I have to admit that I really did enjoy this movie. The characters may have been a little cliche and the family problems in this movie is nothing most haven't seen before, but don't let that detract you from giving this movie a chance. This is a very good family film. The acting is well done. The story is a heartwarming one. I would recommend this movie to anyone who can enjoy a movie without picking it apart. BTW this movie is inspired by a true story, so anyone complaining that this movie is a little "cookie cutter" should realize that a movie doesn't necessarily have to be 100% original to be good. Expand
  13. Jun 10, 2012
    9
    Although a few cliches here and there, but notwithstanding this is a beautifully acted, funny, wonderfully filmed, entertaining,emotionally resonant, masterpiece with a great soundtrack to spare. I give this movie 93%.
  14. Feb 22, 2013
    8
    Every time I go to see a non-action movie, starring Matt Damon, I'm always sure it's going to suck, but it seldom does. Once again, he shows how underrated and versatile he is in We Bought A Zoo. This true story follows a man who is always looking for an adventure, and he found one when he decided to save a rundown zoo in southern California. I don't know about the book, but this film wasEvery time I go to see a non-action movie, starring Matt Damon, I'm always sure it's going to suck, but it seldom does. Once again, he shows how underrated and versatile he is in We Bought A Zoo. This true story follows a man who is always looking for an adventure, and he found one when he decided to save a rundown zoo in southern California. I don't know about the book, but this film was so well written, that it seemed like it was finished in no time! Damon was great, but in my opinion, it's his son and film narrator, Colin Ford, that steals the show. Ford starred in one of my favorite movies, Dog Days of Summer, when he was younger and I've followed his career ever since. He's mostly had bit parts, but every time I see this kid, his performance just gets better and better, and he absolutely blows everyone away in this film. I'm usually unimpressed by teens in film, in fact I want to smack most of them, but Ford is definitely the exception, and really adds an important dynamic to this film. We Bought A Zoo is heartwarming, funny, and clever, the performances are top notch, and you will hopefully be as impressed as I was. Expand
  15. Dec 26, 2011
    10
    Inspirational!!! I have read so many negative reviews on this movie and totally disagree!!!!! I have worked as a zookeeper and know how unforgiving and how demanding of a job it is. The benefit of it all is the feeling of satisfaction and a job well done. This movie brought back all the fire and desire I have for animals!! The comradery of the people who experience it all is so special.Inspirational!!! I have read so many negative reviews on this movie and totally disagree!!!!! I have worked as a zookeeper and know how unforgiving and how demanding of a job it is. The benefit of it all is the feeling of satisfaction and a job well done. This movie brought back all the fire and desire I have for animals!! The comradery of the people who experience it all is so special. This movie is a great dipiction of the zoo community and how awesome, overwelming, joyful and even heart breaking it can be. It truely is an adventure!!! Matt Damon did a fantastic job, and the girl who played his daughter is so adorable!! I cried, I laughed and left with a huge smile. Give it a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised! I was! Expand
  16. Dec 29, 2011
    9
    Beautifully done!! Actors and actresses nailed the piece. I do not usually like scarlett johanson, but the part she played was wonderful. One of the best movies I have seen. It was a pure, wholesome movie. Sweet story line. It did not have nasty sex scenes, or bloddy shootouts, or overly unuseful swearing. It was truly a beautiful movie.
  17. Dec 30, 2011
    9
    My friends & I loved this movie. It made me laugh, jump, sad & happy. It is not a "intellectual " film. It is just a good time. The little girl is adorable. You can feel that Matt Damon's character is someone with heart. No, real life wouldn't be that easy but it's a movie people!
  18. Aug 24, 2014
    7
    A beautiful story of a man who chooses to change his life - and the lives of his children - embarking on a journey that takes them somewhere he never dreamt of: their own zoo.

    Owning a zoo is not a walk in a park as Benjamin Mee soon discovers; there are quirky caretakers and staff, teenage son and some animals to take into consideration - not to mention passing a few regulations. As
    A beautiful story of a man who chooses to change his life - and the lives of his children - embarking on a journey that takes them somewhere he never dreamt of: their own zoo.

    Owning a zoo is not a walk in a park as Benjamin Mee soon discovers; there are quirky caretakers and staff, teenage son and some animals to take into consideration - not to mention passing a few regulations.

    As expected, the family's journey of growth merges with the growth of the entire zoo and its staff. This film did it pretty well, not putting anything too far above the others, keeping things steady and thoroughly enjoyable.
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  19. Jan 15, 2012
    7
    Good movie, not a great one but it did have some funny moments and some interesting commentary on people and animals. I loved the snake wrangling scene and I wonder how many takes it took to get it right. The animals were funny as were some of the people....
  20. Jan 31, 2012
    10
    I loved this movie. I thought all the actors and actresses playing the main roles were perfect for their parts! The little girl was definitely my favorite though! :) This movie was longer than most but I didn't even realize it until I left the theater because I was so into the story. Great movie for everyone!
  21. Mar 28, 2012
    10
    Pretty movie. I think that can be one of the worst film of Cameron Crowe, but I think that the story is pretty, with an awesome cast, incredible animals, is an excellent film. We Bought A Zoo is an amazing, pretty and funny product for all the family.
  22. Apr 1, 2012
    9
    First off, I would give this a 9.5 out of 10. Second off, sorry but it's not a 10. Well acted. Mainly Matt Damon. He really carries the whole movie. He's really good. Story is great, and has a good score. It can be really funny. I think this movie was robbed in 2011. It deserved a few nominations, and a few wins. Overall, this is a good, family movie. You should see this movie.
  23. May 18, 2012
    7
    I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. Predictable, yes. Cliched, yes. Enjoyable, yes! A feel-good film that I'm sure most families would enjoy, I really recommend you check this film. You may be surprised.
  24. Apr 20, 2012
    10
    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.
  25. Apr 29, 2012
    10
    This movie is just awesome.. It had everything in it.. I can not find any fault to point out.. I feel like I am totally blessed. Thanks Cameron Crowe for this wonderful adventure.
  26. May 5, 2012
    7
    When I read that this movie was based on a book by the same name, and that it is was a true story, I looked it up on Wikipedia (Dartmoor Zoological Park) and found it interesting; I expected that if Matt Damon was on board for the lead, it should be a film worth seeing, not to mention Cameron Crowe back in the director's chair would be a plus. It turns out the movie was indeed veryWhen I read that this movie was based on a book by the same name, and that it is was a true story, I looked it up on Wikipedia (Dartmoor Zoological Park) and found it interesting; I expected that if Matt Damon was on board for the lead, it should be a film worth seeing, not to mention Cameron Crowe back in the director's chair would be a plus. It turns out the movie was indeed very pleasant to watch, well worth the two hours of your 'entertainment time'.

    The cast has five actors I really like, Matt Damon in the role of Benjamin Mee, Scarlett Johansson in the role of Kelly Foster, Thomas Haden Church in the role of Duncan Mee, Angus Macfadyen in the role of Peter MacCready and Elle Fanning in the role of Lily. I discovered the talent of Collin Ford, who plays the serious parts as Damon's son; the best dramatic moments (realistic life moments) featured these two actors. I was also completely sold on Maggie Elizabeth Jones' performance; she steals the scenes she's in. This seven year old can charm even a cold hearted fogy; if you're a father or grand-dad, you're going to rewind her scenes.

    The early parts of the movie may lead you to think it will be just an okay comedy; wait because it does get better. The moment the Mees (father and daughter) set their heart on buying the zoo, the story might become predictable but I assure you, it won't matter if it is. The well written script makes it clear that the Mees were looking for a fresh start in their lives. The difficulties the Mees face with salvaging their zoo are matched by the difficulties they struggle (father and son) through to cope with the loss of Benjamin's wife, Dylan's mother. That role, played by Stephanie Szostak, is a timeline edited part. The editing and the musical score are very well done; these go a long way in making the film well liked by those who rated it.
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  27. Aug 11, 2013
    9
    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.
  28. Dec 6, 2013
    7
    At times this movie falls into the to good to be true category and at others it is to true to carry entertainment value, but despite that this movie was an impressive recount of a true story of how Benjamin Mee bought a zoo. Let me start off by saying I have not read the real book by Benjamin Mee so I am basing my review on entertainment. The acting by both Matt Damon and ScarlettAt times this movie falls into the to good to be true category and at others it is to true to carry entertainment value, but despite that this movie was an impressive recount of a true story of how Benjamin Mee bought a zoo. Let me start off by saying I have not read the real book by Benjamin Mee so I am basing my review on entertainment. The acting by both Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson were both top notch while others in the cast went over my head with there over the top antics. The movie carries with it a more tragic aspect that (when addressed properly) tugs right on the heart strings. The films comedic aspects are sometimes out of place but at other time (citing McReady going after the inspector) they deliver a good laugh. This movie may fall short to cynical people hoping for a darker ending but the ending itself dials down on the happily ever after aspect when Benjamin confronts his past and takes his kids to the place where he met there mother. Although Why Not? is supposed to be a main theme in this movie it is addressed only a few times which takes away from the impact of the final line of this movie, but not enough to make it annoying or useless. This movie suffers from some blunders and achieves in other instances, all in all it's a good wholesome movie that pushes away cynics and invites families. Expand
  29. Aug 7, 2013
    10
    I absolutely loved this movie. loved the characters and loved the actors who played them. just a movie where it was always tugging at your heart. made you wanna cry during the bad times and the happy times.
  30. Apr 30, 2014
    8
    A lovely feel good family film although I did cry a lot watching this due to the touching side of the film. The animals and little Rosie were the stars of the film. At one point it really reminded me of Fierce Creatures (which I love!) when they were running around fixing things whilst an inspection was going on! Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansen were brilliant as usual. It wasn't asA lovely feel good family film although I did cry a lot watching this due to the touching side of the film. The animals and little Rosie were the stars of the film. At one point it really reminded me of Fierce Creatures (which I love!) when they were running around fixing things whilst an inspection was going on! Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansen were brilliant as usual. It wasn't as funny as I thought it might be, but a good film all the same. Expand
  31. Oct 21, 2015
    7
    Very dull acting. Plus where is the fun in a movie about a zoo a place with animals that instead of showing animals and being informative about the animals, not the documentary style, they could keep jokes about animals throughout the movie or examples of how different animals co-operate and live together therefor humans could learn from them. Instead of that or even animals in a zoo, itVery dull acting. Plus where is the fun in a movie about a zoo a place with animals that instead of showing animals and being informative about the animals, not the documentary style, they could keep jokes about animals throughout the movie or examples of how different animals co-operate and live together therefor humans could learn from them. Instead of that or even animals in a zoo, it is a dramatic film of a family who faces adjusting issues from moving to one place to another. It really does not show that much of the other side of a being a zookeeper or a zoo owner. It is really boring, shallow script, dull acting, recommended to watch during the holiday seasons with the family during a rainy afternoon with cupcakes and hot cocoa but that is it! Not really interesting to watch this movie alone. You will get bored easily. You will really NEED someone to chit chat during the movie and something to munch while watching it! Expand
  32. Feb 14, 2016
    7
    No question this is dumb and derivative and the characters are generally obnoxious but it's raucous, energetic and enlivened by a game Olivia Newton-John

    Watch here for free http://www.watchfree.to/watch-29ae7b-A-Few-Best-Men-movie-online-free-putlocker.html
  33. May 26, 2016
    8
    This beautiful entry from Cameron Crowe is great for families, and can be relatable for many teenagers. But the film may have received better reviews if not for the cliches and if the story stuck more-so to the original source material.
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
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 16, 2012
    60
    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
    60
    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
    60
    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.