Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation | Release Date: December 23, 2011
6.9
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 164 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
111
Mixed:
38
Negative:
15
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7
MarcDoyleDec 27, 2011
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 ElleSure, 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 of 2 users found this helpful20
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4
NedRyerson1Apr 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. ButWe 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.
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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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7
gvk123Dec 25, 2011
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.,
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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4
VNVreviewerApr 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.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
NJWolfgangApr 7, 2012
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 exceptionsThis 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
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
MajorBobJan 7, 2012
"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"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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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
meow18Dec 29, 2011
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 haveBeautifully 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. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
SusanHDec 30, 2011
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 lifeMy 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! Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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3
Steevo77Dec 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" outcomesThree 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
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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3
yoniw18Dec 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 DamonI 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
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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10
TurkollisterDec 26, 2011
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 aInspirational!!! 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
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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3
OscarOrNotDec 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.
2 of 5 users found this helpful23
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5
BikerjamesJan 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 evenWill 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
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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5
ZilcellMar 4, 2012
This may be Matt Damon's best acting ever. Others may not see it, but I see heart in this movie. I loved watching this movie, even if there were a few slow parts
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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10
BookmasterDec 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 artificialThis 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 of 10 users found this helpful28
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4
oscarrDec 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.
1 of 5 users found this helpful14
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6
ShiiraFeb 16, 2012
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Walter Ferris is uncool; he refuses a drink from Benjamin, not even water, as the men make their way to the lion enclosure. It's the day of Rosemoor Animal Park's final inspection, whose anticipated grand re-opening is contingent on getting a good review from the, mind you, zoo reviewer. The federal officer will not make friends with the menagerie stars. Somebody mentored this bureaucrat well. He's "honest and unmerciful". Not for nothing does the filmmaker cast Patrick Fugit, the Almost Famous star(here playing a zookeeper with an ever-present capuchin monkey perched on his shoulder), since Walter, arguably, is being a real friend to these people by writing what he sees in his audit, because a compromised examination of the animal park could result in needless endangerment for all parties concerned: the animals, the employees, and especially their prospective customers. As William Miller in the 2000 roman a clef, Fugit is told by rock critic Lester Bangs that "friendship is the booze they feed you; they want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong." Walter, a critic of sorts, explains to Ben that he doesn't drink water, which for him, would be tantamount to accepting a bribe, later adding(after he gives Rosemoor its permit) that he never fraternizes, when the owner tries to include the examiner in their celebration. Similar to Creem's founder, Walter, too, possesses an encyclopedic mind, but instead of rock history, his mind is cluttered with more prosaic minutiae, such as zoo bylaws, and other rules and regulations that pertain to animal care and maintenance. The nature of his job precludes human interaction, a choice which results in loneliness. As he walks away from the open-aired jubilee, and towards the isolation chamber of his car, it's hard not to recall the scene between Hoffman and Miller, where Bangs, a self-made miserablist, and Miller, an outcast at his school, talk about the pitfalls of being uncool. In the real world, the filmmaker didn't follow Bangs' advice. He not only made friends with the rock stars, he married one. The casting of Fugit obliquely refers to this life choice, since Robin too chose people over animals(read: the filmmaker chose love over journalistic integrity), but his dedication to the monkey plays like a tribute to Bangs, because the zookeeper, quite literally, can't get the monkey off his back(read: his first love is still music). Bangs, who tells William: "Women will always be a problem for guys like us," would have hated Benjamin for the same reasons as Walter, because "good-looking people, they got no spine...and they get the girls." Walter leers at Kelly, and in the process, makes a pass at her, with a wink in his eye, since he knows full well that he's no match for the hunky owner, who looks conspicuously like Matt Damon. The flabby-chested man is no "golden god". It loathes Walter to pass Ben's efforts with flying colors, but he's a professional, who truly cares about the animals. For the ex-Rolling Stone journalist, who is making his return to narrative film after the poorly-received Elizabethtown, this film, adapted from the 2008 Benjamin Mee memoir, is not just a departure, genre-wise, but a pointed one, best-exemplified by the similarity of the film title to the anarchic moment in Almost Famous, where the band manager screams, "You just bought a gate!" after he gives the okay for malicious vandalism to the tour bus driver. In We Bought a Zoo, Ben is reprimanded by Kelly for referring to the "enclosures" as "cages", but semantically speaking, it's the same thing. We Bought a Zoo is a cage of sorts for this music-centric filmmaker, who is not normally this formulaic. Although in one scene, a grizzly bear breaks loose, the wild beast never truly gets a chance to roam, and is soon taken down by a tranquilizer gun. The filmmaker knows the feeling. Elizabethtown, lambasted by critics, especially the sequence where a grieving Susan Sarandon does stand-up comedy and tap dances to "Moon River" at her husband's funeral, which is then followed-up by a band who plays "Freebird". In lieu of the avant-garde-like experimentation of the film's final act(Claire's mix tape and map that the hero follows), We Bought a Zoo is more akin to "I Know What the Caged Bird Sings". Nothing. It's the rare movie in the filmmaker's oeuvre that popular music isn't foregrounded. Instead of Lloyd Dobler blasting "In Your Eyes" on his boombox into Diane Court's room, we see Ben stepping outside onto his front porch, where he listens to the found music of the animals, at dusk. Whereas the "buzz" that Jeff Bebe talks about in Almost Famous is used as a metaphor to describe Stillwater's music, in We Bought a Zoo the buzz is literalized, in which Ben wears a full suit to protect him from the killer bees, at the outset of the film. This time, the filmmaker's love of music isn't going to kill him. We Bought a Zoo is that protective suit. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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0
hopeJan 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!
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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7
BKMJul 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 genuineWe 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
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8
adelezaabaFeb 12, 2012
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
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6
nutterjrMay 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.
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7
TheQuietGamerDec 5, 2012
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 sickeninglyHave 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
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7
TokyochuchuMay 19, 2013
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.
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6
HfahmyApr 6, 2012
A movie about a widower (Matt Damon) who wants to rehabilitate himself by going far and starting anew, he bought a closed zoo with the intention of taking it afloat. Between the quarrels of the father with his adolescent son (Colin Ford) andA movie about a widower (Matt Damon) who wants to rehabilitate himself by going far and starting anew, he bought a closed zoo with the intention of taking it afloat. Between the quarrels of the father with his adolescent son (Colin Ford) and approaches from one of the zoo employees (Scarlett JohanSson) the movie is divided into two parts. The first one is quite slow and boring without too much events, the second part tries to catch up what was left over, an old tiger dies, the son gets involved with a local teenage, the child daughter (Maggie Elizabeth Johns) adds laughters without being that convincing, and finally the zoo opens and welcomes the small town habitants, some melodrama and tears. Entertaining without been attracting, no much events, spectators may fall asleep without losing much. Expand
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9
robinwOct 14, 2012
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 underwhelmedWe 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 Expand
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7
rafael14Apr 15, 2012
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
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4
MikefromAngusJan 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.
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4
EssenceOfSugarOct 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 itAs 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
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8
TheRedZombieJan 20, 2012
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. TheI 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
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9
heyitsmegrif4Jun 10, 2012
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%.
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