Cameron Crowe wants everybody to love him, too, I'm sure. Maybe that's why I don't like his movies. They have such an air of desperation to them, you're going to love these characters or else. We Bought a Zoo* *
I just... I don't like this movie. It's trying too hard to make me love it, and love these people and their beautiful flaws, and love the music and the era and the groovy vibe. Don't be so needy, movie.
The above quotes are taken from MartinTeller's review of Almost Famous, and they were shocking at the time. (Shocking and hilarious.) We Bought a Zoo had me looking through Martin's lenses, and I think that's more thanks to DarkeningHumour getting me to watch Captain Fantastic recently. I wish I could sit Cameron Crowe down, show him Captain Fantastic. Show him how unconventional sentiment is done.
Much of We Bought a Zoo is so manufactured, you can almost hear the rustle of cellophane as it tries to dress up its shoddy goods in artificial wrapping. The relationship between any two humans is as natural as a Hollywood screenplay written by a dozen writers who binged on a hundred sentimental films trying to deconstruct the formula. The way the film gets to zoo is annoying because it assumes we don't know the title. That's the overriding problem, Crowe never lets a moment land. Everything is either overblown or undercut with an attempt at humor. He can't get two emotions to co-exist in a scene. Meanwhile, the lion looks on like he gives a shit about any of it.