We watched this movie on DVD last night. I think it's my favorite Matt Damon movie ever. I love him in this kind of role. I didn't realize until the end, though, that the story is based on a memoir by Benjamin Mee about buying and saving a small zoo in England. All they did was change the location to southern California.
Matt Damon is Benjamin Mee, a widower of six months who still grieves and whose life seems to be meaningless without his wife. He has a 14-year-old son who is acting out in his own grief and a 7-year- old daughter who also struggles without Mommy. He has an inheritance which enables him to suddenly decide they need a change in scene, and when he and Rosie, his adorable daughter, are shown a "farmhouse" by their realtor, they want to buy it immediately. Trouble is, the place includes a struggling zoo with many species of animals. Oh well, they buy it anyway.
Some of the animals are stars of the movies in their own right, and as Benjamin tries to learn from the staff about those animals you have to laugh at his naivete. But, he cares and so does the staff, and so does Rosie. Eventually his son does too.
There were parts of the movie that I scoffed at, such as the ridiculous inspector who can give or deny their license. Mostly though, this is a warm-hearted movie with characters you care about and animals in need. Both Dave and I just relaxed and went along with the story.
I recommend this one.