While it's yet another Jim Carrey performance that isn't something that we've not yet seen, Mr. Poppers' Penguins do make efforts to capture the audience with the highly adorable penguins. As a film with Jim Carrey, this might fall short of expectation. Nevertheless, it does make for an adequate family genre to please children and their parents that it is intended to be.
In this family comedy, Jim Carrey is Mr. Popper, a driven businessman who is clueless when it comes to the important things in life - until he inherits six penguins. Popper's penguins turn his swank New York apartment into a snowy winter wonderland - and the rest of his life upside-down. Filmed on a refrigerated soundstage with real Gentoo Penguins, "Mr. Popper's Penguins" is a contemporary adaptation of the classic book.
Let's face it, it's really hard to go against something that is so family orientated.
As much as I can go on to tear this film down little by little as to how predictable the plot is to how predictable Carrey's performance is, ultimately the intention of the film is clear. It's a summer film that allows the children to have a great time at the theatres with their parents for some quality family time. How can I rebut against something so euphoric and tender as domestic values?
So if you see it along the lines of adolescence, this film works but only largely via the adorable penguins.
I know this as I noticed how the kids were aroused whenever the penguins appeared on the silver screen. Jim Carrey's scenes without the penguins are just too indigestible especially for the younger children as they don't make much sense of his trademark exaggerated facial expressions and demeanour. The 4 year old boy next to me at my screening yawned towards the end of the film and loudly commented to his mother that the film was too long and boring.
So it's a family film that doesn't quite register much of an impression within its intended audience.
Nevertheless, the hilarious moments are enough to put frequent smiles across your cheeks. But the light-hearted moments are found to be over-reliant on the cute penguins fooling around, at times I just can't help thinking that it's almost akin to watching a penguin show at the zoo/aquarium. It's fun, but it's still just an animal show at its core.
There's seemingly nothing wrong with Mark Waters' directorial capabilities here, but likely how the screenplay fails to appeal to the audience. The genre predominates the film to attract families, while the script somehow deludes that and drift a little off into an angle that adopts a parent's perspective (in this case, Jim Carrey).
On a sidenote, Ophelia Lovibond did succeed in gaining my attention with an interesting and lively rendition of Mr. Poppers' personal assistant Pippi. It was an underwritten limited role if I didn't remember wrongly, but Lovibond does much with what's given and perhaps a little more.
With a very predictable plot instilled within this film, Mr. Poppers' Penguins is nevertheless a very lovely film for kids to fall in love with the penguins like they always do at the zoo/aquarium.
Parents, if you reading this, kindly adjust the C+ to a B or higher.
Unless you don't want to bring them.