Getting Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson for his follow up to Elizabethtown was not a bad idea for Cameron Crowe. We Bought a Zoo is his first feature since that 2005 fiasco, and it’s coming just in time for award season. Damon plays a widower who buys a zoo, and probably figures out how to deal with grief and new love in this Dramedy. Check out the trailer…

Okay, comedy, pathos. Having seen Cameron Crowe’s last movie, this trailer bothers me because he seems to be in the same sort of movie – albeit now with a much stronger leading man, and children who need his support. But from the familiarity of the quitting scene to some of the advice as therapy buzz words talk, this trailer makes me a little worried.

Crowe’s highpoint as a filmmaker still seems to be Say Anything, though everything else has its moments and charms. Here, he seems to be going after the same things that made Elizabethtown such a slog to sit through. This is based on a true story, but reality has never gotten in the way of cinematic saccharine. Of course, the film could work like gangbusters, and maybe this is a subject matter and a theme that Crowe is trying to work through. Or it could be someone trying to recapture the highs of the greatest successes using the cheapest device possible (death) to create empathy.

For better or worse, this is going to be a very important film for Crowe and his legacy. Almost Famous was his autobiography, and perhaps he’s said everything he ever wanted to in cinema. Perhaps now – like Tim Burton - he’s drawn to certain subject matter, but no longer has the same creative drive.  We Bought a Zoo opens December 23.

Does this trailer get you excited?