20th Century Fox has released the first trailer for "We Bought a Zoo", a dramedy directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Elle Fanning, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford and Patrick Fugit.

The film stars Matt Damon as husband and father Benjamin Mee, who uses his life savings to buy a run-down rural zoo that's in danger of being closed. Johansson plays Kelly Foster, an employee at the zoo who becomes involved with Mee.

Given its cushy December 23rd release date Fox clearly has confidence in the film as a possible awards-season contender, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this thing is actually good; lest we forget, Crowe's last narrative feature was 2005's critically-lambasted "Elizabethtown".

"Zoo" is based on a memoir of the same name written by the real-life Mee, in which he documents his experiences taking over a dilapidated menagerie in the English countryside with his family. Aline Brosh McKenna adapted the book, with Crowe doing a rewrite after signing on to direct.

Crowe's most recent film is the documentary "Pearl Jam Twenty", which uses archival footage and more recent interviews with Eddie Vedder and his bandmates to reflect on their ascent to superstardom in the early '90s. The doc, which premiered at this year's Toronto Film Festival, will be released in limited theaters on September 20th before airing on PBS October 21st.

You can watch the trailer below:

 

Two immediate observations: a) There's a bit of a "Jerry Maguire" vibe with the quick flash that shows Damon quitting his job in over-the-top, "only-in-the-movies" fashion; and b) Johansson is by far the most attractive zoo worker I've ever seen.

What do you think of the trailer?