Can Jim Carrey crack the world up flanked by a bunch of real & computer generated penguins? I’d say the answer is not really, but it’s still worth checking out. Jim Carrey at one time was the ‘Go To’ funnyman with yuck-it-up hits like ‘The Mask,’ ‘Dumb & Dumber’ & of course, “Ace Ventura.’ In “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,’ we get glimpses of Carrey’s signature humor. I did laugh a few times, but it’s not hilarious by any means. In this case, that’s OK with me.
From my seat, ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ isn’t supposed to be anything like those movies I just mentioned. This one is a straight forward, warm – fuzzy family movie. The book, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ was originally published back in 1938. Since then, it has never waned in popularity. It’s a staple at elementary schools to this day.
At the heart of it, this is a father/son story. Carrey plays Tom Popper, a divorced overachiever who is all about becoming a partner at his law firm. He actually reminds me of the lawyer he played in ‘Liar, Liar’ Fletcher Reid. In his pursuit of success, Popper loses sight of what’s really important: his family.
Popper’s Pop leaves this world with a parting gift to his son. A special delivery: Six Gentoo Penguins. They wreak havoc with his career while steering him back on the right track: Making amends with his family. Behind the scenes, the penguins were so very well taken care of on set. The temperature was kept at a chilly 36 degrees. You think movie stars are spoiled with their huge trailers? These penguins were treated right. A special living habitat was created to ensure proper space, a swimming pool & even a training area. This facility was monitored 24/7 during the 11-week New York City shoot.
It was very nice to see Angela Lansbury in a supporting role. She did the movie for 2 reasons: (1) She’s a great admirer of Jim Carrey’s work. (2) She loves working on projects that kids will enjoy. One thing I will say, Jim Carrey is no dummy. He let the penguins have the starring role. It’s impossible to upstage Captain, Loudy, Stinky, Lovey, Bitey & Nimrod. Why would anybody even try?
‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ is solid family fare. That alone is a rare thing these days.
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Just like, Captain, Loudy, Stinky, Lovey, Bitey & Nimrod, you can follow me on Twitter @leoquinones