3 out of 5 stars (average)
Jim Carrey is one of Hollywood’s funniest people. Born in Canada, Carrey started at a stand-up comedy club called Yuk Yuk’s, where he performed for a while until coming to America. Carrey quickly made a name for himself by starring in stupid comedies such as “Dumb & Dumber” and the “Ace Ventura” films. His other work includes dark comedies like “The Cable Guy” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and dramas like “The Majestic” and “The Truman Show.” “The Mask”, “Batman Forever”, and “Bruce Almighty” are some of his other endeavors. This time, Carrey plays as the title character in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”, a surprisingly enjoyable family comedy about a workaholic father who gets closer to his family, with penguins in the mix.
As said above, Mr. Popper is a divorced real estate agent who should be allowed to marry his job. His relationships with his ex-wife, Amanda (Carla Gugino, “Spy Kids” films) and kids, Janie (Madeline Carroll) and Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton,) could be a bit better, but with his assistant Pippi (Ophelia Lovibond,) ringing him all the time, he’s let work take over his life, most likely because that’s the way the relationship with his father, a world explorer, was operated.
When Popper’s father dies, he bequeaths all of his worldly possessions to National Geographic, and a penguin for his son (Thanks a lot, dad.) When the penguin basically floods Popper’s apartment, he promptly calls animal control, and all the other guys who deal with situations such as this, and they all say no. Popper then tries to return the penguin (Who he has named Captain) to wherever it came from. Because of some miscommunication, he gets 5 more penguins, which he would’ve sent back, except his family wants to spend time with him because of the flightless birds. Now, Popper must keep his cool while having a zoo worker (Clark Gregg, “Thor”, “Iron Man” franchise,) breathing down his neck, all while attempting to convince a unyielding restaurant owner (Angela Lansbury, “Nanny McPhee”) to sell her place.
I expected this film to be awful, maybe a smidge better than “Furry Vengeance”, but I was surprised. This movie is actually funny. Sure, it has numerous fart jokes (One of the penguins, named Stinky, must eat way too beans at night) for the little kids, but it’s written a lot better then most live action/CGI kid’s films are these days. I took my family to this, I paid for everything, seeing as it’s father’s day when I’m writing this and I thought, “It’s father’s day, and my dad is going with me to see a film that’s probably pretty bad, I should pay for it with my debit card”. He laughed quite a bit. A few weeks ago, my family went to Spain where I had the opportunity to see some real penguins in an amazing nature park. The filmmakers used a combination of real and computer generated gentoo penguins for the film. I thought the CGI penguins looked like real ones, I actually didn’t know if they used real or computer generated penguins for the film. If your kids don’t know who Jim Carrey is, then this will be a good warm-up to him, and if they like him here, they can check him out as Count Olaf in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, based on the first three books in the series.
Jim Carrey was perfect for this. I can’t picture anyone else portraying Mr. Popper. It’s like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” flicks, you take him away and you don’t have a movie.
Rated PG for Mild Rude Humor and Some Language