Mr. Popper's Penguins
20th Century Fox
Reason for the Rating: Mild rude humor and some language.
Plot Summary: A successful businessman's life is turned upside-down when he receives six penguins in the mail
PopFam Recommends: Take time out for your and yours to enjoy a light-hearted movie that explores the importance of family.
Jim Carrey is funny, no question about it. Liar, Liar is probably one of my favorite movies, because of Jim Carrey and his knack for improv. But, if you're going to see Mr. Popper's Penguins because of Jim Carrey and his humor, don't. You'll only be disappointed.
That's not to say it's not a movie worth seeing, because it is. But, if you've seen the trailers and commercials, you've already seen most of the funny stuff, like penguins flying through the Guggenheim or pooping on Jim Carrey's head. Which of course, kids think is funny no matter how many times they've seen it.
Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey) grew up with an adventurous father. Unfortunately, his adventures took him away from home and he was absent for much of Mr. Popper's life. Now divorced and a successful, fast-talking businessman, Mr. Popper is carrying on the tradition. Although he lives in the same city as his children, Janie (Madeline Carroll) and Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton), he's not someone they want to spend time with. He’s there, but he’s boring. Business and success are simply more important. That is, until Captain arrives. Captain is a penguin, sent as a last "souvenir" from his father's travels. From the moment he arrives, this souvenir begins to unravel Mr. Popper's business life, but mend his relationships.
Mr. Popper isn't wanting his life unraveled though. So as anyone would do, he attempts to send Captain back, but ends up receiving five additional penguins, each with their own distinct personalities (Loudy, Stinky, Lovey, Bitey, Captain, and Nimrod. Pretty self-explanitory). When Nat Jones (Clark Gregg), a zoo official, finds out Mr. Popper has six Gentoo penguins, he is determined to gain control of them. Which is fine with Mr. Popper, until he realizes how much his kids love them. Seeing his family happy is worth the inconvenience of living with six penguins. And inconvenient it most certainly is. Penguins live in snow, so Mr. Popper opens all the doors and windows, and turns his home into an Arctic playland. He hires a babysitter to watch the penguins while he’s working. He bribes the apartment security to turn a blind eye to the penguins. And he must decide if the penguins are worth his job.
Which is one of the reasons this movie is appealing. The themes portrayed are relevant to any family. Communication, balance, and love of family are important to any kind of family in any kind of situation, and while the story is wacky the message is certainly not. No, Mr. Popper’s Penguins isn’t the funniest movie out there, but it is an endearing and entertaining family movie. It truly reminds me of those old Disney movies like the original Shaggy Dog and Benji--family-friendly stories with a great message. Family is important, as is balance in life. Family, work, fun, and responsibility are all aspects of life that should work together to make a whole, and when one is out of whack, everything is just harder.
Should you take your family to see Mr. Popper and his penguins? In the words of Mr. Popper himself, “Yeabsolutely!”
Special features on the DVD for Mr. Popper's Penguins include: "Nimrod and Stinky's Antarctic Adventure," "Ladies and Gentoomen," "Ready for their Closeup," Deleted Scenes, and a Gag Reel.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• Mr. Popper always said, “Yeabsolutely!” What would your family say is something you say?
• Captain finally got her chance to fly away from the zoo. What is something you would like to do, but don’t feel you have what it takes?
• Who is the most important person in your life? How do you demonstrate this?
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