We Bought a Zoo - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

We Bought a Zoo Reviews

March 13, 2012
Crowe, to his credit, is more concerned with insights about family than romance - and some of these are heart-on-sleeve touching if you've got a sweet tooth for the stickier stuff.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
January 9, 2012
Nothing that happens in this movie is in the least surprising, but it's all quite pleasant and even, at times, moving.
January 5, 2012
The movie has animals, kids and fine acting from Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, but it lacks the emotional honesty and unpredictability that made Crowe's early films so irresistible.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
December 30, 2011
Damon and Colin Ford as his teen son have an affecting hesitancy, their hearts hovering between the living and the dead.
December 28, 2011
The picture annoys you, but it also wrings happy tears, because Crowe pulls at your heartstrings in crafty ways.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 23, 2011
Crowe seems to be making baby steps into new territory, both stylistically and emotionally.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 23, 2011
A professional actor in the best sense, always credibly grounded, Damon is much better than the material, and so is Colin Ford who plays the troubled son.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 23, 2011
We Bought a Zoo is so filled with artificial sweetener that it may cause cancer.
Full Review | Original Score: D+
December 23, 2011
Consider it a fine sign of emotional discipline that the movie doesn't overplay Kelly and Ben's romantic possibilites.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
December 23, 2011
These are ideas from old movies, and presented without any of the conviction those pictures used to give them.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 23, 2011
"We Bought a Zoo" provides a welcome seasonal dash of wholesomeness and humor, but it's also a heartening celebration of second acts, even at their most unwelcome.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 23, 2011
Heartwarming holiday fare that even jaded adults can share with the kids.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 22, 2011
The film is sweet. Its observations of life in the aftermath of death ring true, especially for anyone who's traveled the contours of mourning.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 22, 2011
Not surprisingly, this menagerie of genres doesn't mesh.
December 22, 2011
"We Bought a Zoo" is as phony as a Kardashian marriage.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
December 22, 2011
The creaks, groans and clichés of the screenplay ... are ... finally outstripped by the attractiveness of the performers, those with two legs and more, and especially by the tenderness that Mr. Damon brings to his role.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
December 22, 2011
"We Bought a Zoo" is a movie you want to like, and a movie you can enjoy if you cut its slackness some slack.
December 22, 2011
The filmmakers insufficiently stir the lumpy metaphors, chief among them that for animals, as for humans, there is a difference between cages and enclosures.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 22, 2011
While not quite Crowe at his absolute best, it carries his humanistic imprint and benefits from a strong acting ensemble that keep emotions in check.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
December 22, 2011
There's a word for the strenuous, shameless plucking of an audience's emotions that this movie traffics in: cornography.
December 22, 2011
"We Bought a Zoo'' is a sweet-natured, terribly unthreatening drama about redemption and renewal, and it may matter more to the man who made it than the audiences who see it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
December 22, 2011
The moment in any family film when dignity goes out the window is an animal reaction shot.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
December 22, 2011
A sweet and genial comedy with a relatively low cloy factor.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
December 22, 2011
Watching the overlong, overfeeling, overdirected We Bought a Zoo made me glad to return from Cameron Crowe's world to the real world, where things aren't quite so simple.
December 22, 2011
It's about taking a complete leap of faith toward life-altering changes, a running theme in all the director's movies.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
December 22, 2011
The movie is quite enjoyable, though, redeemed by Crowe's trademark sincerity and assured handling of oddball character actors.
December 22, 2011
There's a lot of fun waiting at We Bought a Zoo, but it's the feelings that run through every scene that'll make you glad you came.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 22, 2011
Damon, thank the family-friendly-movie gods, really knows how to hold his head above the corn.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 22, 2011
The result is too much formula and not enough human interest.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 22, 2011
Moves from mopey drama one moment to a reaction shot of a monkey smacking his forehead in exasperation the next. By the end of the film, viewers might understand the monkey's feelings all too well.
Full Review | Original Score: C
December 22, 2011
An average movie that's clearly been crafted to bring holiday families together over the popcorn machine.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 21, 2011
The general sense of blandness and predictability that marks the story's progression does not damage its emotional strengths. We feel for these characters and, because we care about them, we yearn for the highs the film ultimately delivers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
December 21, 2011
Damon proves amiable and appealing in a part that's not asking him to stretch much.
December 21, 2011
When we do feel a warm fuzzy in the heart or a lump in the throat, we also see everything Crowe did to put it there.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
December 21, 2011
This is a sweet, funny, unapologetically sentimental film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
December 21, 2011
Proves again that Damon can elevate just about anything in which he appears.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
December 21, 2011
The performances are sincere and Mr. Damon actually seems to be having a ball, giving one of the best and most mature performances of his career.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 20, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
December 20, 2011
Crowe is back to what he's good at: small stories populated by everyday people.
December 20, 2011
The results feel artificial and sappy, with only a few too-little-too-late moments where the tragedy of losing a mother or a wife is handled with anything resembling grace.
December 19, 2011
This is the first feature from Crowe since the heavy-handed, overly quirky "Elizabethtown," and while it's not a complete return to form, it's close enough.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
December 18, 2011
...where We Bought A Zoo earns its stripes is in the process of getting all of its characters to relate to and accept each other.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
December 13, 2011
From the high-concept title to the family-friendly story line, it's basically a Tim Allen movie, only made with taste and feeling.
Full Review | Original Score: B
November 28, 2011
Warm-blooded but largely lifeless.
November 27, 2011
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.