Cameron Crowe's latest is a charming film loosely based on a true story about a widower who buys a small zoo in California.
Benjamin (Matt Damon) is an adventure-seeking journalist who works for a newspaper that's about to close. Instead of taking his stories on-line, he up and quits. He takes his adorable seven year old girl (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) and his thirteen year old boy and looks for a house in the suburbs. His son has been expelled for acting up in school, and he thinks that the change of scenery and a big back yard might be just the thing for a family who is grieving.
He finds the house and land he wants, the one catch is that it's unexpectedly attached to a zoo. The place includes a small, quirky staff, headed by Scarlett Johansson. Since the zoo had been closed for a year, there's a long list of repairs to be done and some heavy expenses along with it - who knew that wild animal chow could be so expensive!
Besides the financial difficulties, there's an ailing tiger, snakes that escape and a moody teenager to contend with, but Benjamin takes it all in stride. He and the staff are on track to reopen the zoo in time for the new season.
Damon is solid, and he has some nice moments with his grieving son, and when he remembers the wonderful times with his wife and kids while looking at pictures on his computer.
We Bought A Zoo is an entertaining film that the whole family will thoroughly enjoy.