On Friday, a story about a family purchasing a zoo arrives in theaters with the daring and bold title of 'We Bought a Zoo.' Matt Damon ('The Rainmaker') stars as Benjamin Mee, a father of two who buys the titular zoo. Is 'We Bought a Zoo' so sappy that it's good? Or will you drown in the sap and die? As a service, we answer every question that you could possibly have about 'We Bought a Zoo.'
Q: How many times did you cry during 'We Bought a Zoo'?

A: Wait, what? Cry? I certainly didn't "cry" during 'We Bought a Zoo.'

Q: So you're saying that you did not, at any point, cry during 'We Bought a Zoo'?

A: OK, look, "cry" is such a strong term...

Q: Did moisture form in the general vicinity of your eyes at any point during 'We Bought a Zoo'?

A: Twice. (Also, I'm only human.)

Q: What is 'We Bought a Zoo' about?

A: It's about a recent widower named Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) who purchases a zoo.

Q: Wait, Benjamin Mee purchases that 1970s PBS show? The one with the kids in the striped shirts?

A: You're thinking of 'Zoom.'

Q: Why does Benjamin Mee buy a zoo?

A: After the death of his wife, Benjamin feels that a change is needed -- especially after the bizarre behavior of his son, Dylan (Colin Ford) -- and decides to move. The perfect home is found, but, alas, it also includes a zoo.

Q: What kind of bizarre behavior?

A: Dylan has just been expelled from his school for stealing and has a tendency to draw pictures of decapitated bodies.

Q: Did Matt Damon's wife in 'We Bought a Zoo' died from Meningoencephalitis Virus One?

A: No. The events that transpired during 'Contagion' have nothing to do with the plot of 'We Bought a Zoo.'

Q: How does Benjamin Mee afford a zoo? Does he have a very high paying job?

A: Actually, he just quit his job as a journalist.

Q: Even without quitting your job, could you afford a zoo?

A: I'm lucky to afford Zoo Animal Crackers at this point. Luckily for Benjamin Mee, he has a family inheritance.

Q: Does Benjamin's family enjoy owning a zoo?

A: Benjamin's daughter, Rosie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones), is immediately smitten with the zoo. Dylan, on the other hand, is less than thrilled and misses his friends. But Dylan does develop a crush on one of the zoo's employees, Lily (Elle Fanning).

Q: Who wouldn't want to own a zoo?

A: Me. Probably you.

Q: OK, what idealistic movie character wouldn't want to own a zoo?

A: The problem with this particular zoo is that it's not currently in operation and is hemorrhaging money. So, with Mee's purchase, he also has to invest even more of his own money and time into restoring the zoo -- and paying the salaries of the zoo's staff.

Q: Does Kevin James, as Benjamin's zookeeper, keep the mood light -- even in times of financial despair?

A: Kevin James is not in 'We Bought a Zoo.' You're thinking of 'Zookeeper.' Scarlett Johansson ('The Perfect Score') plays the zookeeper in 'We Bought a Zoo.'

Q: If you had to hire either Kevin James or Scarlet Johansson as your zookeeper, whom would you choose?

A: This is tough. Johansson's Kelly Foster seems better qualified, but James' Griffin Keyes is funnier when he falls down. I just don't know.

Q: What was the biggest surprise in 'We Bought a Zoo'?

A: It's great seeing Patrick Fugit in another Cameron Crowe movie, but, boy, did he get really tall since 'Almost Famous.'

Q: Is 'We Bought a Zoo' a good movie?

A: Under most definitions of the word "good," I'd have to say that, no, it's not particularly "good." But its relentless goody-goody earnestness will win you over. It's actually humanly impossible to resist.

Q: Should I see 'We Bought a Zoo'?

A: Sure, why not? Just make sure to bring a tissue to wipe all of the sap off of your face. Honestly, this is the Gallagher of sappy movies -- people in the front row should be required to shield themselves with plastic tarps.

Q: If it's the Gallagher of sappy movies, should I also expect some racist and homophobic jokes?

A: No, I was just making an outdated reference to the guy who used to smash watermelons with a hammer. Forget I mentioned that.

Q: Is 'We Bought a Zoo' the most earnest movie coming out this weekend?

A: Unbelievably, it's not. 'War Horse' takes that particular title.

Q: What's the best thing about 'We Bought a Zoo'?

A: The music. I mean, this is a Cameron Crowe movie, after all.

Q: If there ever is a sequel to 'We Bought a Zoo,' what are three possibly titles?

A: 'We Own a Zoo,' 'We Sold Our Zoo,' and 'We Bought a Zoo 2: Goat Protocol.'

Q: What are the odds that you lose your job over the fact that you just wrote the words 'We Bought a Zoo 2: Goat Protocol'?

A: Forty-five percent chance.

Q: Is either J.B. Smoove or Ken Jeong in this movie?

A: Yes.

Q: If I'm at a cocktail party and I'm asked what my opinions of 'We Bought a Zoo' are, even though I haven't seen 'We Bought a Zoo', what should I say?

A: "Yes, this is a sappy movie; there's no doubt about that. Look, Nigel*, I know this is a cynical world, but Matt Damon's performance left me wishing that, at least, every now and then, we can just all take a moment and enjoy the things in life that we do have. For a change." (*I took the liberty of assuming that you will be talking with a man named Nigel.)

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter

[Photo: Fox]

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We Bought a Zoo
Based on 40 critics

Looking for a fresh start, a single father (Matt Damon) moves his family to a dilapidated zoo. Read More

categories Movies