Movie Reviews

Mr. Popper’s Penguins: Cute Overload

By inSing EditorMovies - 18 June 2011 9:17 AM | Updated 9:31 AM

Mr. Popper’s Penguins: Cute Overload

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The Buzz: Jim Carrey’s first live-action role in a long while, based on a children’s book from 1938.

The Stars: Jim Carrey, Carlo Gugino, Angela Lansbury, half a dozen gentoo penguins

The Story: Thomas Popper has spent his entire life working to become the #1 real estate mogul in New York City. He has sacrificed everything... friends, family, and even his own happiness. But on the brink of the biggest deal of his career, he receives a mysterious crate from Antarctica - from his long missing father. What's inside the crate marks the end of Popper's comfortable and well-ordered existence, and the beginning of his new life as caretaker, landlord and parent figure to six unforgettable penguins, each with a distinct personality.

inSing says: Jim Carrey in a G-rated comedy? How times have changed. Better known for his roles where he used his physical comedy to bizarre, often suggestive effect, the comedian has found his recent career as land bound as the flightless birds that he co-stars with here.

He does make the best of it, and he can still get some laughs. The story is your typical white white-collar executive story, a cleaned up version of the role he played in Liar Liar, except with penguins added.

The divorced father of two gets a final gift from his dad, which makes him re-examine his life. It’s all so by-the-book you’ll probably be able to guess what’s coming from the moment the birds land up in his apartment. There are a few good gags, but too many lame ones that never get off the ground, such as Popper’s assistant Pippi’s fondness for P words.

The other stars of the show, the waddling penguins that appear to be a combination of live-action and computer wizardry, don’t have much else going for them besides their waddle and their ability to poop on Carrey. It’s otherwise a lukewarm concoction with few laughs; with the saving grace of Angela Lansbury as an old matron trying to hold out against Popper’s pitch. 

Those few remaining fans of Carrey should take some joy in the physical humour of the once high-flying star, but Carrey’s career is unlikely to retake flight after this.