Do not adjust your screen, you did read the title correctly – I did go to the cinema to see Mr Popper’s Penguins.
PLOT: Tommy Popper (Jim Carrey) is a workaholic, neglectful father and divorcee who inherits six penguins from his recently deceased workaholic and neglectful father. Tommy must learn to love and care for Captain, Stinky, Bitey, Loudly, Lovey and Nimrod. Karina hangs her head in shame as she actually remembered the names of the penguins. Tommy’s kids hate him. Slow motion Jim Carrey run. Tommy hates the penguins. Over exaggerated Jim Carrey limb movements. Tommy’s kids love the penguins. Cool hip hop formation penguin dance. Tommy loves the penguins. Obvious green screen trip to Antarctica. END PLOT.
The plot was basic and formulaic but the film wasn’t pretending to offer up anything particularly original. It would be harsh for me to pick faults just for the sake of picking faults – the story was fine.
I am not a Jim Carrey hater, I will watch the Ace Ventura’s and The Mask if I catch them on tv and I do have a greater affection for Batman Forever than I probably should have but I wouldn’t say I am Jim Carrey fan. I just can’t see him as anything other than a goofy over actor so whenever he tries to pull off the serious straight man I don’t buy it – especially when he suddenly breaks out a party piece of Jim Carrey stupidity in the middle of a serious sales pitch.
If you want a stuffy workaholic straight guy whose heart is melted by cold penguins cast Jason Bateman – it’s not as though he has standards when it comes to making films.
The supporting cast of Angela Lansbury and Carla Gugino were fine although neither were required to actually do anything. Ophelia Lovibond was also fun as Tommy’s secretary Pippi whose love of the letter “P” made for some creative sentences.
In films like this the cast almost become irrelevant as it’s the cuteness factor of the animal in question which is the deciding factor in how good the film is. The penguins were cute, I will give the little buggers that and the film did pick up whenever they were on screen causing havoc. If you must know my favourites were Captain and Nimrod – the leader penguin and the retard penguin.
Mr Popper’s Penguins does win the award for Worst. Green Screen. Ever. At the end of the film the family go Antarctica to return the penguins to the wild but my god – I’ve seen better backgrounds on the Sy-Fy channel. The stock footage of the penguins was has been so overused I half expected to see Morgan Freeman in the background. I know the budget for the film isn’t the highest of the year but it looked poor.
*I am aware I spoilt the ending but if you didn't see it coming then you really shouldn't be allowed to function in the world unsupervised*
Overall Mr Popper’s Penguins is absolutely perfect for kids. It is fun, light hearted and with a running time of 90mins it doesn’t hand around any longer than necessary. The kids give it 9/10 because, and I quote, “It’s not exactly perfect” although their opinions are null and void as they made me sit through Snow Dogs.
From an adults point of view Mr Popper’s Penguins is okay – just okay. I wasn’t looking at my watch or running up and down the isle out of boredom but it lacked that hook to upgrade it from kids’ film to family film.
I give it 4/10. It was watchable but very much a nothing film.
I do want a penguin though.