Directed by Mark Waters, Davis Entertainment, 2011. Starring Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, and Angela Lansbury.
Genre: Comedy, Family.
Question: Do you have kids? The summer can be that magical time where you are able to spend more special moments with them - swimming, taking vacations, and day trips around your town. Good quality time. The summer can also be filled with a dozen movies geared towards kids - some good - some not so good. Well, I just came back from one that surprised me and I am putting it in the "good" category: Mr. Popper's Penguins.
I asked again "Are you sure Mr. Popper's Penguins is in theater #20? Positive?" The teen-something popcorn producer nodded. I didn't believe him because when my children and I showed up at theater #20 it still said The Hangover Part II. We returned doubting we had the right theater. My kids looked at me; I shrugged my shoulders and we headed in.
We were the only ones in #20 and there were still five minutes to go until show time... five, four, three, two, one - two minutes past the show time... I keep hoping, praying this was not The Hangover Part II or I was about to be slapped with "Worst Mom of the Year Award". I was ready to dash as soon as I saw Mr. Bradley "Beautiful Blue Eyes" Cooper saying they "F*#@ed-up again!!" But my nerves soon calmed as 30 tweens loudly marched in all wearing the same shirt. Ah, day camp, I thought. We have the right theater. Whew!
But maybe they are in the wrong theater too? Then the lights dimmed, my blood pressure rose again. Music started to...Titanic...What!? There can't be a sequel to THAT?! I searched my memory - it sank, right? Then a shot of the ocean appears on-screen with the large ship heading straight towards us. She tossed necklace overboard, I know it. I saw it! Really, Hollywood - Titanic II Seriously?
...."AAAALLLLVVVVIIIINNN!!!!" My kids turn to me, "Oh, mom can we see that? Please!? Please?!" I think I was still in shock from potentially taking my kids to a rated R movie and the possibility of a Titanic sequel that I said yes to seeing Chipmunks 3... Regrettably.
Focus...Katy. Alright, that is how's my summer is turning out - how's yours?
I wasn’t expecting much from Mr. Poppers Penguins. It started out with a little boy talking to his father on a ham radio. His father was traveling the world on wondrous adventures but rarely home to spend time with his little boy. Fast forward 30 years and Mr. Popper Jr. (Jim Carrey) is a cold, ruthless business man, divorced and father of two children. That is all I am going to tell you because you soon know penguins show up to his apartment.
The first ten minutes or so were pretty predictable and my spidey-senses were telling me I was about to regret taking my kids to see this movie. Sure they will like it, but will I? I sat there for a few more minutes, patiently. Well, I am here to tell you Mr. Popper's Penguins was positively priceless and precious!
Really! When a movie references Apocalypse Now and The Hurt Locker in the first fifteen minutes, you've got a fan in me.
Now if you don't have children or grandchildren I still think you can skip this movie but if you do, take them. It tells a sweet family story that had me giggling during several scenes. Of course, my kids had scenes they giggled through as well -- toilet humor always does that for them. And I mean real toilet humor. Those weren't my favorite. I preferred some of the training scenes. If you have ever tried training a pet you will laugh too.
Also, have ever fretted over your children's well-being and you want to give them best parental advice that will take away their pain? Unfortunately, you are so out of touch with the way kids think, behave, communicate (via the damn texting device) - you actually make your children unhappy with your logical and sage comebacks. You might be the only adult laughing in entire theater...oh, wait, that was just me!
This film won't win any Academy Awards; however, the CGI penguins were hard to tell apart from the real ones. Jim Carrey's performance was close to many of his former fictional characters although with some restraint. I know he can act - The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind proved that. So, it wasn't a stretch to see him perform here but I did see some sweet moments between him, his kids and the penguins. Yes, I liked the penguins!!
What I enjoyed is this film was how they showcased the family dynamic and how realistic it is. I am not a child of divorce and I am married but with the divorce rate at over 50% it portrays something that many can related to. So, many kids will be able to understand it but don't be surprised when they ask you to get them a penguin for their birthday. Let me be the first one to warn you on that little tidbit. You are welcome!
My kids both gave it 8 out of 10.
My favorite thing: That the movie turned out to be a delight.
My least favorite thing: That I kept thinking Jim Carrey could really use a haircut.
Length: 94 minutes
Review: 6 out of 10