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Cherry Pop

'We Bought a Zoo'
(Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Colin Ford, et al / DVD / PG / 2012 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: When his teenage son gets into trouble, Benjamin Mee (Damon) gives up a lucrative newspaper job to move his family to the most unlikely of places: a zoo! With help from an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, Benjamin embarks on a fresh beginning to restore the dilapidated zoo to its former glory, while uniting his family.

DVD Verdict: This is a pretty solid if not fairly predictably uplifting tale of a recently-widowed writer taking a 180 degree turn and buying a zoo. Based on the true story of Benjamin Mee, an English writer who bought an actual zoo in Southwest England, the script pulls all the right punches for delivering an entertaining family drama that has a little something for everyone.

From the adorably cute daughter to the grumpy teenage son and the Dad who needs to move on from Mom's death, the script almost writes itself with character arcs all revolving around the family moving to the country side and living with the animals. But it's very well done - an excellent cast holds it together and the dialog is believable enough to keep the audience engaged and routing for the zoo's success.

My only question was why the zoo was moved from its real life location in England to a fictional rural area outside Los Angeles - some of the quirky zookeeper characters would probably have worked more effectively if it had stayed in the UK.

I've talked about this with other people who have seen the film and we all agree the profanity is too much much for a family film. Personally, I didn't think there was anything that was not family oriented but then again I don't have kids! Though there is also a revealing fact about the Easter bunny that you may not want your children to know. Overall, it was much more entertaining than I expected and definitely a little different. [JB] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted & Extended Scenes:
o Elevator Empathy
o A Gift From Ronnie
o Life is Elemental
o Thank You, Rhonda
o Rosie Names Her Peacocks
o Quick Learner
o Just Can’t Get a Handle On It
o So Much Bloodshed
o Buster is Loose
o Utterly Free / Nobody Died
o I Make My Own Hours
o The Stuff is Alive
o We’re Living The Story
o Disaffected Youth
o It’s Their Zoo, Too
o Goodnight Big Mac
o Such a Cliché
o Sorry About the Rain
o Benjamin’s Big Speech
o Opening Day
Gag Reel
“The Real Mee”
“We Shot a Zoo”
“Their Happy is Too Loud”
Audio Commentary with Director Cameron Crowe, Star J.B. Smoove and Editor Mark Livolsi