Sunday, March 04, 2012

Mr. Popper's Penguins

When Tom Popper was growing up, his Arctic explorer father paid very little attention to him, except for messages on the radio. When Tom grows up, he's exactly the same towards his children, and the divorced dad tries sporadically to get their attention. Everything changes when he receives a gift from his dad after his death: six penguins.

I'm assuming that, in many of the takes, the penguins were CGI-created. Because there's no way to get an animal, no less a penguin, to do some of those stunts. Whatever the case, the penguins we see are very lifelike, have a lot of personality, and it's a seamless production.

Carrey, on the other hand, portrays a very unlikeable character. Even at the end, when he mends his ways due to what the penguins have taught him, he's not much of a catch. Grumpy is his middle name.

I enjoyed seeing Angela Lansbury, who was somehow channeling Katherine Hepburn, as the owner of an old-time restaurant that Carrey is trying to buy. And it's always great seeing Carla Gugino, who is charmed by this weird man who is actually making a home for his penguins in his New York apartment.

The visual stuff is sweet, that's for sure, in Mr. Popper's Penguins, but there's no real charm or heart in this movie. But kids will love the penguins, each of which has a name which suits him. Or, as it turns out, her.

Thumb's up minimally, especially for adults.


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