Cameron Crowe is looking to break out of a slump of the aughts that he has been going through in the last decade. He began the new century with what may be the most acclaimed film in his canon: Almost Famous. He followed up that career peak with a tepid critical reception for Vanilla Sky and all-out pans for the 2005 film Elizabethtown. He hasn’t made a narrative film since 2005 instead focusing his energy on behind-the-scenes work in other films. Many of his fans are hoping for a career resurgence when Crowe returns this Fall with his new film We Bought a Zoo.
The film is a sentimental dramedy (a genre that Crowe has perfected) about a single father who quits his job and moves his family to Southern California to renovate and re-open a struggling zoo. The screenplay is a collaboration between Crowe and Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses) and the film stars Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning and John Michael Higgins among others.
The trailer premiered today on Apple Trailers and it is very hard to tell what to think based on the two minutes of footage revealed. The songs mixed into the trailer seem very cliche, as well as some of the dialogue. However, one has to remember that Crowe invented many of those conventions that are now frequently deemed “cliche.” Matt Damon looks solid and I’m quite excited to see the hilarious J.B. Smoove getting work outside of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
The official synopsis for the film is below and the trailer comes after that (or is available at Apple Trailers). Check them out and let me know your thoughts!
This holiday season, acclaimed filmmaker Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) directs an amazing and true story about a single dad who decides his family needs a fresh start, so he and his two children move to the most unlikely of places: a zoo. With the help of an eclectic staff, and with many misadventures along the way, the family works to return the dilapidated zoo to its former wonder and glory.
We Bought a Zoo will be in theatres in the U.S. on December 23, 2011.