'We Bought a Zoo' Critic Reviews

96%
MovieWeb:   5 reviews
67%
Rotten Tomatoes:   158 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    67
    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 » 3 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    60
    The creaks, groans and cliches 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.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    60
    It's an easy-going, likable film.
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    Not surprisingly, this menagerie of genres doesn't mesh.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    75
    "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 » 3 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    50
    "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 » 3 years ago
  • Robert Wilonsky Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Crowe is back to what he's good at: small stories populated by everyday people.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Joe Neumaier New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    40
    The moment in any family film when dignity goes out the window is an animal reaction shot.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    "We Bought a Zoo" is a movie you want to like, and a movie you can enjoy if you cut its slackness some slack.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    75
    Consider it a fine sign of emotional discipline that the movie doesn't overplay Kelly and Ben's romantic possibilites.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Glenn Kenny MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    70
    ...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 » 3 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    Damon and Colin Ford as his teen son have an affecting hesitancy, their hearts hovering between the living and the dead.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • David Denby New Yorker (Top Critic)
    Nothing that happens in this movie is in the least surprising, but it's all quite pleasant and even, at times, moving.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    63
    The result is too much formula and not enough human interest.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    Damon, thank the family-friendly-movie gods, really knows how to hold his head above the corn.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    The movie is quite enjoyable, though, redeemed by Crowe's trademark sincerity and assured handling of oddball character actors.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    63
    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 » 3 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    38
    "We Bought a Zoo" is as phony as a Kardashian marriage.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    25
    We Bought a Zoo is so filled with artificial sweetener that it may cause cancer.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    80
    Proves again that Damon can elevate just about anything in which he appears.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    75
    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 » 3 years ago
  • Rob Nelson Variety (Top Critic)
    Warm-blooded but largely lifeless.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Lou Lumenick New York Post (Top Critic)
    75
    Heartwarming holiday fare that even jaded adults can share with the kids.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Linda Barnard Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    63
    An average movie that's clearly been crafted to bring holiday families together over the popcorn machine.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Eric D. Snider Film.com (Top Critic)
    50
    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 » 3 years ago