Last month, New Yorker critic David Denby published his review of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' one week before the embargo date. This drew drew the ire of both the studio and director David Fincher, creating a terse back-and-forth between Denby and 'Tattoo' producer, Scott Rudin. However, caught in the crossfire of this film critic hullabaloo was poor old Cameron Crowe's new movie, 'We Bought a Zoo.'

In one of the emails to Rudin, Denby defended his actions, complaining about the large number of movies coming out around Christmas. "What to put in the magazine on December 5? Certainly not 'We Bought the Zoo,' or whatever it's called," he said. Crowe and Damon later weighed in on Denby's dis themselves, with the director stating, "He should see the movie. I'm actually anxious for him to see the movie. ... It's a time filled with cynicism, and there's a lot of movies about that, and this one is a little bit about hope and a lack of cynicism." As for Damon, he directed his comments toward critics as a whole: "I think it probably takes more guts for a critic to admit that this movie gets to them than it will for them to bash it."

It turns out that Cameron and Matt were right! In the latest issue of the New Yorker, Denby compliments -- a bit backhandedly -- Crowe's script, and how "moving" it is. (Point to Damon.)

After his misadventures with 'Vanilla Sky' and 'Elizabethtown,' Crowe has recovered the sure commercial hand that he demonstrated in 'Jerry Maguire.' Nothing that happens in this movie is in the least surprising, but it's all quite pleasant and even, at times, moving. McKenna and Crowe have produced the kind of hardworking script in which everyone has a problem to overcome.


See, some movie critics can be (sort of) non-cynical. Denby even takes the time out to recognize the great romance in 'Zoo' and Damon's performance. (Another point to Damon.)

Along with Tom Hanks, [Damon] is one of the most likable actors in contemporary movies. It takes forever for Benjamin to notice that the pretty, down-to-earth woman with the keys is staring at him in a certain way. Crowe gives Johansson enough yearning closeups to ignite a pile of damp leaves, and, at last, Damon responds. There are so few examples in the movies of normal romantic behavior --once the heart of Hollywood filmmaking -- that the slow, hesitating, unremarkable but warming courtship of Damon and Johansson feels like a revelation.


Crowe and Damon for the win! And so ended the greatest headline-grabbing movie critic debate in the past year or so. You can read Denby's full review over on the New Yorker.

[via New Yorker]
CATEGORIES Movies