We Bought a Zoo (2011)



Critic Consensus: We Bought a Zoo is a transparently cloying effort by director Cameron Crowe, but Matt Damon makes for a sympathetic central character.

Movie Info

This holiday season, acclaimed filmmaker Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) directs an amazing and true story about a single dad who decides his family needs a fresh start, so he and his two children move to the most unlikely of places: a zoo. With the help of an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, the family works to return the dilapidated zoo to its former wonder and glory. -- (C) Official Site

Rating: PG (for language and some thematic elements)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Aline Brosh McKenna, Cameron Crowe
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 3, 2012
Box Office: $75.6M
20th Century Fox - Official Site


as Benjamin Mee

as Kelly Foster

as Dylan Mee

as Peter MacCready

as Lily Miska

as Robin Jones

as Walter Ferris

as Rhonda Blair

as Mr. Stevens

as Katherine Mee

as Principal

as Cashier

as San Diego Vet

as TV Anchor

as Delbert McGinty

as Hugo Chavez

as Shea Seger (Lasagna ...

as Alison

as Parrot Lady

as Sarah Tanner (Vet As...

as Male Zookeeper

as Volunteer

as Volunteer

as Zoo Patron

as Zoo Patron

as Zoo Patron

as Zoo Patron

as Zoo Patron

as Zoo Patron

as Zoo Patron

as Visiting Family

as Visiting Family

as Visiting Family

as Visiting Family

as Zoo Kid

as Zoo Staff

as Zoo Staff

as Party Girl

as Buster the Bear

as Crystal the Capuchin

as Spar the Tiger

as Ronnie the Binturong

as Buster the Bear

as Buster the Bear
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for We Bought a Zoo

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for We Bought a Zoo

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (45)

Crowe, who aims high to plant a big smile on your face, does so here more than competently.

Full Review… | August 11, 2014
Film School Rejects

Packed with too many storylines, this drama feels like a zoo indeed.

Full Review… | June 30, 2013
Big Hollywood

...this is packed with all the warmth, heart and humanity that one has come to expect from a Cameron Crowe film.

Full Review… | October 24, 2012
FILMINK (Australia)

A muddled focus keeps We Bought a Zoo from being a guaranteed hit with kids or a captivating adult drama but there are enough compelling moments to make it worthwhile.

Full Review… | October 1, 2012

In short, We Bought a Zoo is all bore and no roar, and while it's certainly not the worst of Crowe's career, it's far from earning its stripes as a worthy successor to his earlier films.

Full Review… | September 15, 2012
We Got This Covered

Might be a stereotypical 'family movie,' but it's still a good one.

Full Review… | August 22, 2012

Audience Reviews for We Bought a Zoo

Cameron Crowe aims for the Disney audience with this obvious-as-a-grammar school play crowd pleasing story about a single dad trying to raise his coming of age difficult children. I've actually given the whole film away by now except for the cute animal instagrams spread throughout. It was interesting to see Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson cover more down to earth material than the fantasy that is so prevalent nowadays, and both actors seem to warm to the presentation as well. One aspect Crowe nails is how aggravating teens are to everyone, quite without the artifice of most productions.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Let's be honest, Crowe's older films had much more energy, honesty and unpredictability. Here, you know immediately what you are getting, and you are getting a lot of it. Family drama, cute animal humor, romance, and the notion that hard work can make you achieve anything. That's naive and sometimes even a bit annoying. And yet the film ends of engaging you after all, because of the likable characters and Crowe's instinct to use the right song for the right scene. By the wonderful ending the film has won you over and you can't help but sit there with a bug stupid grin on your face. It then adds a real tear-jerker of a final scene that gives it all more depth than you got for two hours before that. Quite a feat.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer


I've always enjoyed Cameron Crowe's work; he has a nice touch that brings a unique viewing experience. With We Bought a Zoo, he crafts a fun little film that does show limitations and could have been a bit better considering the premise of the film. Despite this, this is a fun little film that has heart and is among Cameron Crowe's best in several years. Crowe has always had a good eye for what makes for a fun crowd pleaser, and though this is far from perfect, he manages to deliver a film that should appeal to the entire family. There are parts that could have been reworked a bit, but overall this film works well enough to be worth seeing. With that said, the film is a heartwarming drama that really is well acted and is truly terrific. Acting wise, there are some very good performances and Matt Damon really delivers something special here. This is an underrated film that is fun from start to finish. I very much enjoyed watching this, and I felt it had enough elements to make this a worthwhile feel good movie. Cameron Crowe knows how to create something special and he captures a wonderful story. With a great cast, great acting and an interesting plot, We Bought a Zoo overcomes its imperfections to really bring out a very well crafted drama. Expect a wonderful film and don't believe the flack the film has received because it is a true life story that is simply engaging and memorable.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

We Bought a Zoo Quotes

– Submitted by Adam P (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Adam P (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Adam P (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Adam P (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss We Bought a Zoo on our Movie forum!