In theaters Dec. 23
After the death of his wife, danger-loving journalist Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) impulsively buys a run-down zoo in the California countryside, hoping this new home will delight his children--and take his thoughts off the woman he loved. A heavily fictionalized adaptation of Mee's nonfiction book, Cameron Crowe's movie follows the rules of the Dead Mommy/Single Dad subgenre to a T. At its weakest, Zoo force-feeds the uplift. At its best, it taps into some real, messy feeling, thanks to the rock-solid Damon and Colin Ford's sensitive portrait of a teenager. Scarlett Johansson provides a hint of future romance. There's just enough wit and humanity to stir fond memories of the savvy charmer who made Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous.