Film review – Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011)

Mr. Popper's Penguins: Mr Popper (Jim Carrey)
Mr Popper (Jim Carrey)

At least a film about penguins being kept in a New York apartment provides a new spin on the animals running amuck theme. The penguins’ new owner is Tom Popper, an ambitious, slick and cunning realtor and divorced father played by Jim Carrey. Popper’s not a far cry from the character Carrey played in the 1997 film Liar Liar, except this time the conceit that prompts him to re-evaluate life and re-connect with his family is inheriting the flightless birds.

The penguins actually look great, although we are never really endeared towards them, and Carrey’s brilliant comedic delivery provides several chuckle-worthy moments. However, overall he is wasted in this film, which is overtly geared towards children with its broad humour and thick sentiment.

It is also disappointing to see a film aimed at young viewers containing the classic ideologically conservative tropes of have the film’s hero as a wealthy business man, who eventually embraces family values and traditions, while the villain is a zookeeper, representing the ‘evils’ of expert opinion.

Thomas Caldwell, 2011

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