13 June 2011 | calicritic
Jim Carrey saves this film from being a total disaster
On Saturday, I had the honor of attending an advanced screening of Mr. Popper's Penguins. Now I have never read the book in my life, but I am aware that the film is an extremely loose, contemporary adaptation with a setting in the present day rather than the 1930s in the book. So if you're a die-hard fan of the classic book, avoid this movie because they made so many changes to this new setting, it's insane. I am a Jim Carrey fan as well, which was the main reason I went to this film, but don't kill me for saying that I still have not seen Liar Liar, Ace Ventura, and The Mask yet. But those three are still on my watch list, though.
Jim Carrey plays Tom Popper, a successful New York City businessman who has put almost all of his life into his work life instead of family. One day he gets a phone call saying that his father has died, but he left him a gift behind. That gift is six gentoo penguins, and these penguins are going to help him realize that he has shunned out almost every opportunity he's had in life to appreciate the beauty you can experience if you take the time to do so. Once the penguins are brought into the public eye, though, Popper has to contend with a stern zoo keeper (Clark Gregg) who wants the penguins because he believes that Popper's house is not well-suited to take care of all of them.
Jim Carrey definitely carries this movie and saves it from being a complete disaster. His physical slapstick that has become well known in almost his whole career translates in a good enough manner to provide so decent moments of comedy. He may be very grounded in his limits for what he can and can't do, but watching Carrey go crazy on screen is always good enough for me. The supporting cast's performances are really nothing special, but it was pretty cool to see Clark Gregg go on the villain side for once, when he's not playing SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson in the MARVEL films building up to The Avengers. However, the penguins I believe are the weakest part of the film. The jokes involving the penguins are heavily centered on young children and parents who like to see their kids laugh. I'm 17 so I thought most of the jokes were very juvenile at some times, especially a running joke they carry on with one of the penguins who goes by the name of Stinky. In addition, you'll be able to tell in every scene involving the penguins when they're real or CGI, especially in the final climactic sequence of the film.
Overall, if you've seen the trailers to this film, you pretty much know what you're going to get out it. This movie could have been a Razzie nominee in several categories, but Jim Carrey is there to save it from going in that direction. I can say that I mildly enjoyed most of this movie, but I'll probably forget sometime this week.