Mr. Popper's Penguins

(2011)

Genres: Comedy

Review: Mr. Popper's Penguins

Transcript for Review: Mr. Popper's Penguins

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Well, the best thing I can say about our next film is that it’s not nearly as dismal as it could have been. MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS is very, very loosely based on the classic children’s book, and it stars Jim Carrey as a man who lives in perpetual fear of being defecated upon by one of the six penguins he has inherited from his estranged father.
 
CLIP 3 / “Hi Live Penguin” (specifically, the later part of the clip)
 
And when they’re not soiling his luxurious Manhattan loft, the penguins are messing with his plan to buy an iconic restaurant from Angela Lansbury, for whom I feel very sorry.
 
CLIP 6 / “Surfing the Guggenheim”
 
But you see, these penguins are here to teach Carrey a lesson about love and family. He’s a divorced real estate broker who just doesn’t make enough time for his kids, and, hey, maybe what he really needs to become a better dad is half-dozen high-maintenance aquatic birds.
 
CLIP 8/ “They’re happy here”
 
Though there are some funny scenes between Carrey and Clark Gregg, who plays an overzealous zoologist, the penguin shenanigans get old very quickly. And the whole film is baked in the most sentimental kind of schmaltz. Unless you have a child who loves penguins and fart jokes and doesn’t mind being bored by a lot of maudlin nonsense, there is no reason you should see this. 

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Wow, first horses and now penguins. Do you like any creatures at all: puppies, kittens?

IGNATIY:
Dogs, I’m okay with dogs.

CHRISTY:
Right.

IGNATIY:
Certain cats.

CHRISTY:
Right, but this does not work for you, at all. Okay, I have to admit. I’m not that far away from you on this. In that, it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but my thumb is still vaguely up. Because, here’s why, it feels like an old school New York, screwball comedy to me. And Jim Carrey…

IGNATIY:
I cannot even understand how, but please explain. Please explain.

CHRISTY:
There are a couple things going on here. Because Jim Carrey has a lot of fun with it, clearly, but it’s not nearly as dorky as like when Eddie Murphy does some kind of family comedy, and it’s a very transparent attempt at getting to a different audience here. Um, there’s still kind of an edge to him that makes it doable. Um, the penguins, they’re real live penguins. I mean sometimes they are CGI penguins, but even then, can you tell the difference between the real penguins and the fake ones? They don’t talk, and they’re not in 3D.

IGNATIY:
The penguin effects are alright.

CHRISTY:
They’re pretty good.

IGNATIY:
But, look, this is, you know, it’s yet another family movie wit this really, what I feel is a really unhealthy fantasy. As a child of divorce, as they say, this kind of recurring plot line you see in a lot of family films where you have two divorced parents and really what they just need to do is get back together.

CHRISTY:
Right, go have dinner together or something.

IGNATIY:
Yeah.

CHRISTY:
No, that is unfortunate. I will agree with you on that.

IGNATIY:
It’s seems, it seems like really unhealthy wishfufillment for a child, frankly.

CHRISTY:
Right…but most of what’s going on here is really kid friendly. I mean there were little kids at my screening literally bouncing up and down in their seats they were so pumped about the penguins. That was intentionally alliterated right now.