Comedians as broad as Jim Carrey are an acquired taste. You either love him or hate him. He’s mellowed a bit over the years and I’ve come to admire his willingness to go all out on screen. In his latest, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, he displays a sense of charm that’s escaped me before. He had me won over by the 15-minute mark.
Though a predictable outing, there’s a sweetness to this film that lowers one’s inhibitions and leaves you susceptible to its charms. Popper (Carrey) is a ruthless real estate broker who prides himself on being able to acquire any property he sets his eyes on. This drive has alienated his family, however a chance at redemption arrives on his doorstep one day in the form of a refrigerated case, which contains a penguin. Seems his absentee dad, who has died recently, willed it to him, and through a misunderstanding, he winds up with five more.
Not only does the presence of six flightless fowl turn his tony Manhattan apartment into a winter wonderland but it forces Popper to open his heart to these birds which in turn, makes him a better dad and husband. Yeah, it’s as corny as it is predictable, but somehow it doesn’t matter. The computer-generated penguins are well done and fun, whether playing soccer, dancing or pooping on cue. Carrey is one of the few performers animated enough not to get blown off the screen by his manufactured co-stars and his exuberance helps sell this bill of goods. It would be easy to pick apart Mr. Popper’s Penguins, but it succeeded in doing something few movies are able to do lately: it put a goofy grin on my face for most its running time. That’s gotta be worth something.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.