In 2000, director Cameron Crowe demonstrated his ability to put a new spin on teen rom-coms with ‘Say Anything’, capture the zeitgeist in ‘Singles’, be a critics’ darling with ‘Almost Famous’. and to achieve significant financial and critical recognition. all at once in “Jerry Maguire”. However, after the mixed response to “vanilla sky“, the writer-director entered a fallow period… and it was then that he made “We Bought a Zoo”.
Cooking after a critical beating for “Elizabeth Town”, Crowe didn’t do a movie for over six years. In fact, he wasn’t the one who developed “We Bought a Zoo” in the first place, although he did many rewrites to the scenario of his predecessor Aline Brosh McKenna on his arrival. He was the director who brought Matt Damon into the fold, successfully pitch the actor with a collection of music that Crowe said evoked the sensibility of the film he wanted to make.
Interestingly, while critics hit it with average to mixed reviewsthe public rewarded the film with more than twice its ticket sales budget. Damon also performed above criticism as Benjamin Mee, the widowed father who, you guessed it, goes out and buys himself a zoo. Rotten Tomatoes review summary singles out the actor for anchoring the film around a “likeable central character,” that’s about all you need from a movie about a guy who, well, buys a zoo.