Watched Jun 17, 2012
Don Hein’s review:
Or, as my wife referred to it, "Oops, We Bought a Zoo" because the trailer made it look like the whole thing was some sort of accident. The Mrs. picked this one and offered to watch it with friends, but I was open to checking it out, mainly because of Cameron Crowe's previous work and, yeah, looking at Scarlett Johansson is not the worst thing in the world. Also, I like Matt Damon and find him to be a very competent actor.
To start, this is a Family Film and Crowe seems to have gone into it that way. There's really not too much of Matt Damon falling down spilling colorful things on himself or animals spitting or peeing on him, so that was appreciated. It works in broad strokes, but overall I found the thing enjoyable.
Watching this on Father's Day, unintentionally, made it more poignant, because this is a film about a man who lost his wife. I found myself both relating to the kids, having lost my father a few years back, and, at the same time, relating to Matt Damon's character and thinking about how hard that must be to lose your spouse, especially with kids and at such a young age. Crowe does some nice touches with this material, adding some dreamlike qualities here and there and treats the whole thing with a large amount of respect. It's not just some plot device to get Damon sympathy and allow the romance room, it is actually inherent to the story.
It was nice to see Scarlett Johansson playing a new character and I was worried I would really dislike her acting, but I found it to be just fine. The romance angle seemed to be moving in a realistic way, but they finished it off sort of awkwardly, but its a nitpicky thing and didn't bother me too much.
Guess this is a bit of a long review for something as simple as Oops, We Bought a Zoo, so I'll end it by saying I enjoyed it, don't need to see it again and it made me think about my life and appreciate my wife. Not bad, Crowe.