We Bought a Zoo
A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family
On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM
Rob Reiner directs Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson in this romantic comedy about a writer pressurised by loan sharks to produce a book within 30 days
Rob Reiner directed the very funny This Is Spinal Tap, the wonderfully warm When Harry Met Sally and the highly dramatic Misery. It's worth mentioning this as it beggars belief that the man responsible for those classics could be involved with rubbish like Alex And Emma. Okay, so it doesn't help that the script's written by Jeremy Leven, who penned the awful The Legend Of Bagger Vance, but Reiner has spun gold from shit screenplays before. (As future Beverly Hills 90210 scribes, it's safe to say The Sure Thing's writers Jonathan Roberts and Steve Bloom were hardly the Billy Wilder and IAL Diamond of their generation.) How sad that the bearded one should lose his precious gift in his old age.
Luke Wilson is Alex, an author with a gambling addiction who finds himself needing to punch out a novel in 30 days or else the local loan sharks will embark on a feeding frenzy. To make his task easier, Alex hires Emma (Hudson) to transcribe his prose. But she ends up making the job a thousand times harder by questioning his every decision. But as the two spend more and more time together, Alex's tale of a love triangle (acted out by characters played by Hudson and Wilson) becomes more a work of fact than of fiction.
There's usually at least one good reason to see even a very bad movie. In the case of Alex And Emma, the one reason is Kate Hudson, who again proves that she's one of the better actresses working in films today. Alas, la belle Hudson has to share the bulk of her screen-time with the walking lumberyard that is Luke Wilson. His fine work in The Royal Tenenbaums aside, it seems the younger Wilson's only function on this planet is to demonstrate what Owen Wilson would be like if he didn't have blond hair, a broken nose and buckets of charm and talent.
If Wilson's poor showing is attributable to his lack of talent, it's hard to know why director Reiner is so out of sorts. Is he bored? Has he lost it? Whatever his problem, Reiner needs to sort it out pretty damn quick. There was a time when Rob Reiner's films were the equivalent of an old friend - you were always pleased to see them. Now, they're the equivalent of Godzilla - best run away from as fast as your legs will carry you.
About as funny as root canal work and as romantic as a rainy fortnight in Wrexham. Rob Reiner should make a phone call to Christopher Guest a priority.
Jack Reynor is Richard, a star athlete who has just left secondary school when a drunken encounter threatens to ruin his future. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, What Richard Did marks Reynor as an extraordinary new talent as a young man who quickly becomes
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