Thanks to Fox Australia we were invited to the advance screening of Mr. Popper’s Penguins based on the classic children’s book by Richard and Florence Atwater. This is our review of the movie, but remember, we still recommend for you to go and watch the film, because there is no better critic than yourself!
Mr. Popper Penguins is a great family comedy directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Just Like Heaven, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past). The story centers on Tom Popper (Jim Carrey), who suddenly inherits not one, but six penguins from his loving father who just died thus turning his life around.
Mr. Popper‘s private life is a total disaster. Tom is divorced from Amanda (Carla Gugino) and is the father of two children, Janie and Billy (played by Madeline Carroll and Maxwell Perry Cotton). Popper juggles his busy schedule to make sure that he has time to visit them during alternate weekends and to get their affection, especially from his teenage daughter Janie.
On the other hand, Tom has a great job. He is a successful sales executive. He is aiming to be part of the Board. But there is one condition; he must be able to convince Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury) to sell her highly prized property, which is located in a prime area, to his company. Mrs Van Gundy has a reputation to be a tough seller and in order to get that, Popper and his assistant Pippi (Ophelia Lovibond) made a lot of plans. But it proves to be harder than they have thought. True to her reputation, Mrs. Van Gundy turned him down and saying that her restaurant “Tavern on the Green” is not for sale.
Life becomes more complicated when Tom receives a package from South Pole with a live penguin in it, that he calls Captain. As he tries to return this particular “item” he gets a new box with another five penguins, transforming his always neat and perfect Manhattan apartment in a watery and messy playground. As penguins are very difficult to take care of, tons of mishaps starts to take place and that’s where the fun starts, but it will bring the attention of his neighbor, doormen, a zookeeper, and later on Tom’s family.
Obviously Tom’s children fell in love with the penguins at the first sight and Tom start to transform his apartment in a winter-safe area to bring back the love of his family. As time goes by, the care of the penguins is starting to be a full-time job and it’s already affecting Tom’s work. Suddenly the penguins started to lay eggs and one of them did not hatch on time and he decides to stay and take care of it. He got so involved with the penguins that the bosses went to this house and thought he was crazy. They decided to fire him and surprisingly, Mr. Popper did not even care. But later on, when he realized that he really can’t take care of the penguins, he asked the zoo keeper to get them which brought sadness to his family. This event brought him back to reality and to his old job. However, the sad faces of his children convinced him to take the penguins back too.
In Mr Popper’s penguins, the old school Jim Carrey is back! Carrey shows a fantastic performance and deliver great moments of physical comedy joined by the cutest cast of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) penguins. Every moment made kids and adults laugh and at the same time the story has a lot of heart especially with Tom’s childhood memories and how he is repeating everything with his kids. All the characters are well played, especially the fantastic Angela Lansbury. Last but not the least; it’s also fun to watch Tom’s assistant, Pippi and his “P words” throughout the movie.
Despite the fact that the penguins are the center of the story and not Jim as you may think, everything turns out in a lovely story and it’s incredible to see how good the CGI is. It creates awesome expressions in their faces and the selection of personalities is a genius, making everyone on the cinema empathized with them.
Another highlight of the film is how easy it is to understand the story thus the kids really enjoyed it but at the same time, leaving with them a message about conservation and ecology.
Mr Popper’s Penguins is a great family movie, so if you want to spend a good time with your kids go and watch it when it opens in cinemas on June 30th, 2011.