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Film: We Bought a Zoo

A 2011 Cameron Crowe movie in which Matt Damon buys a zoo. Loosely based on the memoir of Benjamin Mee, a widower and his two kids buy 18 acres of property that used to be a fully functioning zoo. He inspires the remaining staff of the zoo, as well as his kids, to put it back together to have it approved by an inspector so it can once again attract customers. Tear Jerker family moments and funny animal hijinks ensue.


  • A Boy and His X: In this case, a man and his entire zoo.
  • Actor Allusion: Kelly's remark about her brief marriage could be a possible reference to her actress Scarlett Johanson's brief marriage to Ryan Reynolds.
  • Animal Reaction Shot: A couple with a staff member's capuchin.
  • Cheerful Child / Daddy's Girl: Rosie.
  • Comically Missing the Point: A couple instances during the argument between Dylan and Benjamin.
  • Cultural Translation: The real Benjamin Mee and his family are British, and the real Zoo is in Dartmoor, Devon in the UK but he was on board with most of the film.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Dylan.
  • Hairof Gold Heartof Gold: Lily.
  • Hilarity In Zoos: Hell, it's Hilarity In Zoos: The Movie.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: The zoo is looking at an inspection on opening day; the guy pops in early for a surprise inspection as well.
  • Large Ham: Christopher McDonald's role is in the Shatner category of Ham.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Why not?"
  • Mighty Roar: A bear does this right in Benjamin's face.
  • Missing Mom: The story begins after Katherine Mee's death. In real life, the zoo was actually bought before her death and she died during the renovations, the studio thought this was too sad and the real Benjamin Mee has said that the portrayal of grief is still accurate to what he went through.
  • Product Placement: The characters seem to have a strange fascination with Home Depot and Target.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Colin Ford who plays Benjamin's son Dylan could actually pass for Matt Damon's real-life son if he wanted to.
  • Single Tear: Benjamin does this during a flashback about his wife.
  • Something Else Also Rises: The way the zoo inspector deploys his tape measure is rather suggestive.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Lily and Dylan.
  • Title Drop: Rosie does this three times.
    • So does Benjamin at the end.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Peter Macready, hilariously played by Angus Macfadyen.
    You don't want me! I am full of scotch and bitterness and impure thoughts!
  • We Named the Monkey Jack: The second variation - Dylan Mee is named after a dog.

Water for ElephantsFilms of the 2010sWhat's Your Number?

alternative title(s): We Bought A Zoo
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