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We Bought A Zoo: DVD Review


We Bought A Zoo

We Bought A Zoo

Released by 20th Century Fox Home Ent
Rating: PG

Based on a true story and a best selling book, this latest from Crowe is an unashamedly clichéd, feel good flick about a family following their dream.

Matt Damon is recently widowed father of two Benjamin Mee; he has two different relationships with his kids - the one with his teen son Dylan is fractious and argumentative and the one with his young daughter Rosie is all sweetness and light.

When Dylan gets expelled from school and with advice from his brother to "let a little sunlight in", Mee sees this as a catalyst for change and promptly ups the whole family to a house in the country to start again.

The only problem is this house comes with a rundown zoo, its animals and its motley and jaded crew of helpers, led by head zookeeperKelly (Johansson).

So, with the odds stacked against him and financial struggles aplenty, Mee decides to what he can to reopen the zoo and make a go of it - thus healing himself and his family.

Cliches abound in We Bought A Zoo - there's precious bon mots dispensed left right and centre and a warm feeling of gooey predictable sentimentality on display from the get go. And yet, despite all of that, you can't help but feel a little something for Mee and his family as the tale unfurls.

Thomas Haden Church has some great oneliners as the dry laconic brother of Mee; and Damon once again flexes his everyman appeal in this.

However, the rest of the cast are largely underused - Johansson resorts to a lot of grinning and sideways head-cocking as the inevitable romantic subplot unfolds; they very talented Elle Fanning is left with little to do - and the rest of the zoo keeper cast are pretty much confined to the background, with precious scant input.

Crowe pretty much milks a lot of the sentimentality too - with close ups of cute kid (who's also wise beyond her years) Maggie Elizabeth Jones and shots of Dylan declaring his love as the rain pours down.

You can see exactly what's coming in this flick - but for the holiday period and with its messages of self belief, family, and healing, I can't help but feel this will leave many with a rosy glow after exposure to the triumvirate mix of mawkish sentimentality, cute kids and animals.

Extras: Over 2 hours of stuff including gag reel, extended scenes, commentary and doco

Rating: 6/10


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