We Bought a Zoo is the sort of film that sounds like an objectively terrible movie. Single dad buys zoo, hijinks ensue! You think to yourself that Eddie Murphy must be doing the voices of the animals and Jack Black probably is in there embarrassing himself too. Some freshly de-vatted clones from the Disney plant are probably singing in the soundtrack and playing the spunky teenagers. But instead you hear that Cameron Crowe is directing and Matt Damon is starring and the film shifts from straight-to-DVD disaster to heartwarming and appealing. For most people at least. A certain percentage of people respond with a blank look and ask how Cameron Crowe changes the equation at all. They may possibly be dead inside.
Here’s the trailer:
I think what really makes it work is the way that it feels so genuine, drawing on Crowes adolescence, when his own father bought a zoo. No. No, I made that up. It does feature Thomas Haden Church being funnier than he’s been since “Wings” though.