Written by Guest Writer Marisa Ings
“Yapsolutely a Family Film!”
Mix Jim Carey’s insane comedy style with the on screen chemistry between he and Carla Gugino then throw in the cutest Gentoo Penguins and Mr. Popper’s Penguins is loaded for fun. It’s a family friendly film sure to cool the kiddies down on a hot summer’s day.
Tom Popper, played by Jim Carey, is a successful real estate businessman, a shark in a sea full of guppies. Yet, even though he’s in tune with his work world his family life falls flat. Years of putting business matters before family have caused a split with wife Amanda (Gugino) and his two children. To top it all off Popper is on the verge of becoming partner of his firm but before they carve his name in the company stone he has to complete one last challenge; obtain the exclusive property of Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury). In the midst of wooing Mrs. Van Gundy however, Popper gets word that his adventurous father has died and left him one last souvenir from his travels… a real live PENGUIN.
When Popper tries to return the peculiar gift he gets more than he bargains for, a house full of penguins. Now in a pickle, Popper finds himself juggling his job, the penguins and a chance to get his family back.
A cut and paste version of Richard & Florence Atwater’s novel this film is not. Some may even suggest that releasing a winter wonderland film far from the holiday season is whacky, but Director Mark Waters quiets his critics by providing an apropos comedy. In fact it’s just perfect for the summer heat, just watching this film set during the winter in New York will surely cool you down. Or maybe its just the air-contioned theatre :o). Either way it puts the summer heat at bay.
I must admit I was a bit fooled by the hearsay that real penguins were used throughout the film. After seeing the movie I began to wonder if the human-like attributes portrayed by these flightless birds was real. So I conducted a little research, and found an interview with Sean O’ Connell on filmcritic.com where Carla Gugino reveals, “The sequence in the Guggenheim Museum… where the penguins are doing crazy stunts, is CGI.” To my disappointment these were no super genius penguin actors. However, even though CGI is showcased during certain scenes to imitate live penguins, the transition from computer to real is seamless.
All in All, Mr. Popper’s pleasant penguin parable is perfect for progeny people.
Final Rating: B-