Eye For Film >> Movies >> Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011) Film Review
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Jim Carrey's latest is a perfectly pleasant if predictable picture about a part-time pop who learns his priorites after receiving a package of penguins. Putting alliterative plosives to one side - and one of the film's characters, Pippi (the wonderfully named Ophelia Lovibond) speaks that way throughout - there's plenty here to keep your precious poppets entertained even if Mark Waters' film never attempts to break new ground.
We meet Mr Popper as a child (Dylan Clarke Marshall), and watch him spending hour after hour communicating with this absentee explorer dad via a radio set. Mr Popper Senior substitutes his presence with presents, dashing here and there on adventures while sending his son trinkets and tales from distant shores. Fast-forward a few years and Mr P is the fastest mouth in New York, involved in real estate of some sort that is never really dwelt upon. The important thing to note is that he a workaholic and, as such, needs to learn the sort of life lessons that only crossing paths with Angela Lansbury can teach a person.
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She plays the elderly owner of Central Park restaurant The Tavern on The Green, which is exactly the sort of comforting old-fashioned place that Mr Popper's bosses want to get hold of and destroy.
And so, into his well-meaning but lacking life comes a pack of penguins, which - after the horror of last week's Zookeeper - are blissfully mute, except for the squawking of "Loudy" and the emissions of "Stinky", who - along with Angela - show Mr P the error of his ways.
What the script lacks in life, Waters at least partially makes up for in action. There are several well worked visual gags, including a neat, deliberately telegraphed flood, featuring slapstick that takes an unexpected turn and an impressive penguin-surfing set-piece in New York's Guggenheim, that help to offset the more mawkish subplot involving the (barely) estranged Mrs P (Carla Gugino).
Given the preponderance of snow in Mr Popper's appartment, it's a mystery why this is a summer and not a winter cinema release. Nearer Christmas, the decision to head firmly from ice to slushy sentiment towards the film's denoument would probably ring less hollowly. Still, this is a notch or two up the pecking order from this summer's weaker family releases.Reviewed on: 05 Aug 2011