Critic Reviews



Based on 40 critic reviews provided by
Damon can elevate just about anything in which he appears.
The movie is like Doctor Dolittle remade as a therapeutic sudser. By the end, it got to me.
We Bought a Zoo has more soul than substance, but I'll be darned if it didn't put a smile on my face and keep it there.
Heartfelt but safe. The missing element is the edgy irrelevance that elevated Crowe's best directorial efforts - "Say Anything," "Jerry Maguire," and "Almost Famous" - above their generic counterparts.
Arguably the director's least typical film, it doesn't dodge the potholes of earnest sentimentality and at times overplays the whimsy. But the uplifting tale has heart, humanity and a warmly empathetic central performance from Matt Damon.
Village Voice
The cynics will scoff and dismiss it all as manipulative, the heartstring-tugging machine on hyperdrive. But this movie isn't for them; did you not see the PG? It's a sweet, sincere, utterly affable kids' movie about how parents are all kinds of screwed up and unable to tell their kids what they want or show them how they feel.
Too much of the movie feels predestined - down to the rainstorm on opening day - and subplots involving budding romance end up forcing what's implicit. Crowe, meanwhile, still can't stop abusing his vinyl collection; the aural wallpapering of Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and others will surely please postboomer fans who haven't quite gotten the hang of silence.
We Bought a Zoo is an odd bird, warm-blooded but largely lifeless.
Boxoffice Magazine
An uneven mix of middle-age anxiety and family comedy.
Slant Magazine
Far more concerned with pratfalling animal shenanigans and unearned uplift than crafting a single complex or amusing moment, it's a film caged in by formulaic plotting and plentiful pap.

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