By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com September 14, 2011 at 6:25AM
It's been six long years since we last saw a Cameron Crowe (fictional) film on screen, but seeing that that film was the, frankly, disastrous "Elizabethtown," he's perhaps been missed less than he might have been otherwise. Still, the writer-director has enough great work behind him that we're always going to be interested in what he's putting out, and this Christmas sees the arrival of comeback film "We Bought A Zoo," which sees him team up with Matt Damon for the first time.
Based in fact, the film follows Ben (Damon), a single father who attempts to fulfill his late wife’s wish of moving their family to the titular animal sanctuary, along the way coming across the possibility of moving on thanks to a beautiful, spunky zookeeper (Scarlett Johansson). Elle Fanning, Thomas Haden Church, Angus MacFadyen, John Michael Higgins, J.B. Smoove and Patrick Fugit also star, while Sigur Ros member Jonsi is penning the score, and our first proper look at the film has arrived thanks to a trailer over at Apple.
And it looks more or less what we were expecting; Crowe staying pretty mainstream to back into the game, with sentiment higher on the agenda that laughs. The clip (scored by a snippet of Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More," and by "Hoppiola" by Sigur Ros, giving a taste of how Jonsi's score might sound) has some broad moments here that come a little close to "Mr. Popper's Penguins"-type comedy, but there's also a few bits that suggest at some of the emotional truthfulness that we'd hoped that Crowe might bring to Aline Brosh McKenna's script.
The kids look surprisingly decent, and, despite one moment channeling "Jerry Maguire," we're sure that Damon will be a solid center to the film, seeing as he's pretty much incapable of not doing that. And is that the inklings of a good Scarlett Johansson performance (who'll surely be glad, on this day of all days, that something authorized involving her has made its way onto the internet...) that we see? We'll find out how the film turns out on December 23rd.