Tom Popper grew up having very little interaction with his father who was off exploring the world.When he grows up he spends most of time on his work and ignores his children. One day his father sends him an unusual gift: six penguins.Popper can't help but wonder why his father would send him penguins. He tries to get rid of them.But when his children and ex-wife show up to celebrate his son's birthday, the kids are taken with the penguins.And Popper finally gets to connect with his kids and his work suffers...I really have no idea why this film bombed so badly. It's quite a return to form for the actor, after making lot of dark movies which possibly turned his audience away.This does reminds me heavily though of Liar, Liar. it basically has the same premise, nut a different macguffin that changes his ways.In both films he is distant with his child/children because of work, and it's obvious that the wife still fancies him despite going out with the comedy boyfriend.That film worked, but was more slapstick, here the slapstick is left purely to the CGI penguins, and Carrey plays more of a straight man in this.The penguins are hilarious, if sometimes blatant CGI, and the family edge isn't as sickly sweet as you'd expect.Angela Lansbury turns up as a kind of fairy godmother who makes Carrey appreciate family etc.It's great family fun, and with the exception of the secretary who says words with the same letter, all the cast are great.Forget the reviews and the box office. If you like late nineties Carrey, this is for you.
Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey) grew up with an absentee explorer father and becomes a cold hearted property buyer. He is divorced with two kids. One day, his long gone father sends him a penguin. He calls to return the penguin but communication problem causes 5 more penguins to be sent.It's a likable kids movie. There's nothing mean spirited here. On the other hand, there's nothing edgy or original. It's rather bland. Jim Carrey tones down this character which he has played many times before. He limits his over reaching gyrations but still has the physical pratfalls. In fact, everything seems toned down and a bit of a bore. The penguins are a marvel of CGI but they lack individualism and personality. Their artificialness is never far from the mind.
If you scan Jim Carrey's film roles over the past couple decades, you'll notice that the actor seems to pick and choose his roles very carefully. Closer observation will also reveal that the comedian has been branching out into all forms of different genres over the years. Whether it's been horror, romance, animation, or just plain controversial, Carrey seems to be more concerned with trying different things than just making movies for the sake of making movies. After having recently done a motion-capture animation project with Robert Zemeckis and Disney for A Christmas Carol, Carrey's latest project is a straight-up family comedy, titled Mr. Popper's Penguins. The film brings the famous childrens' book of the same name to life, but doesn't maintain any of the characteristics of the original story in attempt to modernize it for 2011.
The biggest difference from any other film Carrey has ever done, clearly, are his six costars... the penguins. A mixture of real penguins and fabricated CGI, these penguins often steal the show, but Carrey's charismatic performance is not only the glue that holds the movie together, but the pillars beneath this structure to hold it up. If you take away the penguins and our leading funnyman, you have your standard crazy scenario that helps a self-centered guy win his estranged family back. Night At The Museum used this formula too (even though he wasn't really trying to win his wife back), although Stiller's character was more down-on-his-luck than successful, so for family films this is really nothing new either. The penguins and family-safe comedy help keep the movie appealing for all ages, but it's unmistakable that Popper's Penguins is as cute as a live action Jim Carrey movie is going to get. The content is rather clean and Carrey's jokes stay surprisingly away from the edge. I got a little nervous near the beginning of the movie when he turned Viagra into an adjective at a business meeting to express the masculinity of a something, but from then-on, it's ultimately the penguin Stinky dropping farts and penguin poop jokes that lend to the crudity in the movie. And for PG movies these days, it's all surprisingly rather mild. The worst of the profanity in the film is kept to a handful of "Oh my G-d" and a use of "For G-d's Sakes," while a "h*ll" and "d*mn" are both heard during the closing credits song, "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice. It's rather refreshing to finally see a comedy made now that's entertaining without being really vulgar. However, you really have to be a fan of Carrey's schtick to appreciate all of the film's humor. And while some time does pass without a good, hearty laugh, Carrey fans with an open mind are likely to find that they laughed more than they expected to by the time the credits roll.
Alongside Carrey is a decent but not especially standout supporting cast that includes Carla Gugino (who was the object of Stiller's affection in the first Night at the Museum) as Popper's ex-wife, and the legendary Angela Lansbury as the owner of Tavern on the Green, which Popper is trying to get her to sell to his firm. Clark Gregg, who I saw last play kind of a villain in In Good Company and who is currently making the rounds in the superhero films that lead up to next year's Avengers collaboration, steps in as the foe here. While Gregg was fairly good in those aforementioned roles, he's a bit one-dimensional and kind of cheesy as this film's "villain" who wants the penguins for his zoo. His character is kind of stereotypical for this genre, but he still pulls it off more effectively than many in that position usually do. In the end, the penguins and Carrey really are the best thing that Mr. Popper's Penguins has going for it, which tend to make the film feel a little bit smaller than it could have been, but director Mark Waters (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Just Like Heaven) does a fair job making Mr. Popper's Penguins one of the better films of its kind. Still, in retrospect, Waters does the movie a bit of a disservice by not keeping it grounded in a sense of reality, allowing some of the characters to feel more cartoony than they could have been. The worst scene is when Popper turns his ritzy apartment into a snow palace, complete with the stairs becoming a snow slide that has a table with a snow cone machine at its base. Then the film's climactic scene feels a lot like the large-group scene at the end of, ironically, Evan Almighty (the sort-of sequel to Carrey's Bruce Almighty that actually didn't even star Carrey). It's a corny finish, and far more goofy than I'd have preferred it. But while it doesn't ruin the film for me, the escalation of absurdity up until this point does seem to hold the movie back from having a stronger outcome.
Deleted Scenes (14:32) - There are a whopping twelve deleted scenes with optional commentary by Director Mark Waters, Editor Bruce Green, and Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Hollander. The first scene, called "Young Popper Classroom" shows a little Popper on a career day in class where his father couldn't make it. As he talks about what his dad does, the class gets really intrigued, which just encourages him to keep talking about his dad. "Popper with Homeless Man: Part 1" takes place right afterwards where Popper coaches a homeless man in how to better his begging technique. "Part 2" follows and is a pretty amusing scene where Popper and Pippy walk past the homeless man as they talk about his business deal. The fourth scene is an extended version of Popper meeting Rick outside his ex-wife's home. "Popper Meets Kent" shows him bumping into Kent outside his door as they talk about how much more sunlight Popper's apartment gets than Kent's. "Popper's Lonely Weekend" shows him scoping out Tavern on the Green by himself and then entering his bedroom with two bags of gifts for his kids. The seventh scene shows Popper building a "pen" for the penguins out of the furniture in his living room. "Popper Escapes The Guggenheim" shows him running out of the Guggenheim and then telling off the penguins before arriving back at his place to find them there. The penguins are shown here in pre-viz state, so no real or fully animated penguins are shown. "Popper Presents Tower" shows Popper presenting a Tower on the Green condo model to his business partners. "Popper Meets Staff" is an alternate take where he makes a joke about kidney pie. "Popper and Amanda" is actually a lovely scene where the Tavern staff give Popper some pointers on his "second first date" with his ex-wife. It turns into a pretty cute sequence that probably should have been left in. "Popper Says Goodnight" shows him walking Amanda to a cab after the date and "Popper, Kent and The Board" shows Kent bringing The Board to Popper's place to try to get him in trouble. And finally, "Popper Escapes Zoo" is a brief moment where the Poppers plan on getting out of the zoo.
Ready for Their Closeup (8:28) is dedicated to the real penguins in the movie and how the cast and crew interacted with them and trained them for their scenes. Here we learn how the set had to be refrigerated, while a special pen and training rooms were also built nearby on set. All of the major cast talk about what it was like to work with the penguins and we get to see quite a bit of b-roll and behind-the-scenes footage (as well as some more cutting up on set).
Ladies and Gentoomen (5:55) features a penguin specialist from Sea World San Diego who talks about the Gentoo penguins, while clips from the movie are spliced in. It's an informative piece for anyone who wants to know a little more about these cool animals. 2b1af7f3a8