Matt Damon, Cameron Crowe Respond To David Denby 'Zoo' Insult

One of the more bizarre turns of the heated embargo-gate exchange between New Yorker film critic David Denby and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" producer Scott Rudin was the shot Denby fired at an entirely unrelated film.

Denby, in defending his move to break the embargo on reviews for "Dragon Tattoo," wrote to Rudin, "In any case, the early vote forced the early screening of 'Dragon Tattoo.' So we had a dilemma: What to put in the magazine on December 5? Certainly not We Bought the Zoo,' or whatever it's called."

The film he was referencing, actually titled "We Bought A Zoo," is the upcoming family-friendly Cameron Crowe movie that stars Matt Damon as a bereaved father who moves his kids to a countryside home and takes charge of a dilapidated zoo. The Washington Post caught up with both director and star to ask about their take on the diss.

"I think it's probably more difficult to be non-cynical and be a critic. 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, you know," Damon reasoned, alluding to the happier tone of "Zoo," especially in comparison to "Dragon Tattoo."

"But I love movies. And a movie like 'Jerry Maguire,' for instance -- I don't have any problem admitting that that movie made me cry," he continued. "I don't feel like an overly optimistic or overly cynical person, but I do, I will give myself away to a movie as long as the movie doesn't betray me."

Crowe was more bemused by the situation. He also brought up the cynicism issue, but also seemed to enjoy the leaked email show.

"The Denby thing was almost funny to me because I felt like we were the people sitting at a table at the bar and this barroom brawl breaks out and they spill onto your table and you get knocked out," he said. "It's kind of like old-time theatrical business. Those two were tangling, and that was a private e-mail, and it was fun to happily watch from afar."