Cute Family Comedy
Just when you think penguin mania has run its course, here comes Mr. Popper's Penguins starring Jim Carrey plus the cutest bunch of penguins ever to waddle across the screen and steal your heart. Carrey plays a divorced father who pays more attention to his job than his two children – until he receives a strange inheritance from his own father. And what a unique gift! Not just one live penguin, as originally thought. Instead it’s six -- count ‘em -- six precocious black and white birds from Antarctica, and no Morgan Freeman in sight or within earshot.
What’s a gung-ho businessman like Mr. Popper (Carrey) to do? Call the zoo, of course. After all, he’s got important meetings to attend, lucrative deals to make happen, and bosses to please. No time for penguin nonsense. But when Popper’s son Billy (Maxwell Kerry Cotton) and daughter Janie (Madeline Carroll) arrive for their alternate weekend stay, it’s clear they love the penguins. Lo and behold, they want a longer visit with their father. Even Amanda (Carla Gugino), the ex-Mrs. Popper, seems impressed by the delightful new additions to their family. Despite all his faults, Popper is intelligent, so he realizes it’s time to put the kabosh on any zoo plans -- at least for now. That decision changes his life completely.
Once a model tenant, Popper now must try to hide his new charges, and he begins to convert his plush New York City apartment into a winter wonderland in order to accommodate these unusual guests. How will Popper’s bizarre behavior impact his job performance? Is his improved relationship with his family more important than his business responsibilities? Can the penguins survive in a Park Avenue apartment building? It’s lots of fun discovering the answers to those questions while being entertained by Carrey and his penguin brigade. My favorite scene? Carrey showing off a tap dance routine Popper has taught the birds. Happy Feet, eat your heart out!
Carrey and the legendary Angela Lansbury (having a great time playing a grand lady Popper must deal with) also share a couple of wonderful scenes -- one in the highly cinematic Guggenheim Museum. And most of Carrey’s fans will surely enjoy hearing him do his perfect Jimmy Stewart impression as well as seeing his “slow motion” entrance gig.
While writing this review, I can’t help noticing an autographed photo of Jim Carrey staring down at me from a shelf to the left of my computer. “Spank you very much!” Carrey wrote in response to a letter I sent him a few years ago with advice about his career. After seeing his amusing performance in Mr. Potter’s Penguins, I owe him another note. “Please keep making us laugh,” will be my short message.
(Released by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and rated “PG” for mild rude humor and some language.)
For more information about Mr. Popper’s Penguins, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.