banner image

:: Mr Popper's Penguins

Whenever a much loved story is turned into a film there is always a sense of hesitation when you sit down to watch it. Having loved Mr. Popper’s Penguins as a child I was a little worried how the film would turn out, considering I’m not the greatest fan of Jim Carrey, except when he is doing a serious role. As it turns out though Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a good enough family film to let you forget about the main star’s antics.

Based on Florence and Richard Atwater’s novel Mr. Popper’s Penguins follows the story of businessman, Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey), a man who despite being ignored by his father when he was younger now works so hard it has caused him to be separated from his wife, Amanda (Carla Gugino) and his children, Janie (Madeline Carroll) and Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton). But as Mr. Popper is planning the biggest business deal of his life, by buying Mrs. Van Gundy’s (Angela Lansbury) restaurant he is sidetracked by his late father’s gift of a group of penguins. Now Mr. Popper is placed in an uneasy situation, does he keep the penguins that are making his life hell or does he keep them and make his family happy?

Director, Mark Waters, has the right idea about directing a Family film… he doesn’t try and make it something it isn’t. In fact he seems to be one of the only directors going around that seems to be able to control Jim Carrey. Waters also done a fine job mixing the drama together with some good parts of comedy… the same can’t be said for the over-the-top stuff like teaching the penguins to dance though. No, this film’s comedy works wonders in scenes like at the Guggenheim when the penguins are let lose… the simpler the comedy the better it is. Still, the script is good enough to mean that the kids will certainly pick up a few morals along the way.

Being the centre-point of this film however means that Jim Carrey is the make or break of this film. As I previously mentioned though it seems that Waters does have a tight leash on Carrey for most of the film. There are some moments of true drama and emotion required from Carrey and he pulls that off so well that when he does do an outlandish comedy move it seems to be completely of place. Still Carry is pretty good in the role and his scenes with Angela Lansbury are priceless.

Mr. Poppers Penguins isn’t the best film of the year although it is a nice family film that will appeal to both kids and adults alike. Funny, but moralistic, Mr. Poppers Penguins is certainly worth a look.