(Drama, PG, 124 minutes)
This is a holiday movie worth rooting for. Directed by the cinema's last great romantic, Cameron Crowe, it features cute tykes, young romance and a grownup grieving for a lost love, adorable animals and the comically crotchety Thomas Haden Church. Matt Damon stars as Benjamin Mee, a newspaper journalist whose wife died six months ago and whose kids - 7-year-old Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) and especially 13-year-old Dylan (Colin Ford) - are taking it hard. Stumbling into a new adventure, Benjamin decides to buy a little zoo out in the country. "We Bought a Zoo," with adult themes and dissonant bursts of profanity, kid-friendly romp, and stumbles when it reaches for emotional highs and lows. When a Crowe film works, it makes us laugh and then makes us cry. "Zoo," despite the menagerie he's working with here, rarely manages to do either.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Info for Parents: Rated PG for language and some thematic elements