Why did I like this wholesome, corny, and predictable movie despite the fact that those attributes normally piss me off in cinema? It might be a profound love of animals and you can't really argue that this was definitely a big part of what the film-makers were counting on when green-lighting this bizarre choice for a film.
If you read my stuff you already know that I am constantly saying that I don't believe Leo DiCaprio is a convincing adult in his movies, nor do I consider him very versatile. I always say that i think all of Leo's movies would be better if they were Matt Damon movies - and this is a case in point.
The name of the film is literally what happens and while that seems uninventive it actually was the name of the memoir of a real person named Benjamin Mee, which is who Damon plays in the film.
Benjamin is a depressed father of 2 who is mourning the recent death of his wife. He and his children are looking for a new house and they find a perfect one and are about to buy it when they hear a lion roar nearby. He was unaware that there was a closed zoo on the property and in order to obtain the house, the zoo must be purchased as well. Obviously they do so.
It should come as no surprise that they experience a series of problems in opening the zoo and one calamity after another occurs and is overcome. It's a feel-good family movie after-all.
A great deal of the animal interaction sequences are real in the movie and this is a big part of the reason why this film eventually ended up costing $50 million to produce. I was a bit shocked to find out the price tag and I would imagine this lofty sum, for a family movie about a friggin zoo, was probably a tough sell for director Cameron Crowe.
This movie made me smile many times and even get a bit misty-eyed - I would imagine it stands a chance of doing the same to most people with a soul. I want you to think, even if you just watch the trailer and not the whole film about what I always say about Leo.... i mean honestly, can you really see him starring in this? He couldn't pull it off.
One of my favorite lines of inspiration is in this movie "All you need is 20 seconds of insane embarrassing courage and I promise you, something great will come of it"