My eleven year old son did not want to go see Mr. Popper’s Penguins last week with his younger sisters. He was afraid it wouldn’t be cool enough and what he really wanted to see was Thor. But after bribing him with a huge bag of never-ending popcorn, it turned out that the bribe wasn’t at all necessary. He was as engaged in the film as his sisters.
And his parents, for that fact. Though, for different reasons. I was terribly disappointed in the fact that the movie was NOTHING like the book I’d loved as a child. The Popper of my childhood would never have named his penguin Stinky. But once I got over that fact, as well as the fact that the movie was going to be another generic movie about how parents forget about their childhoods but then relearn the concept of loving life and family, and then also accepted that the movie was had nothing to do with the book, I began to enjoy the film.
Jim Carrey was not as spazzy as he was in other films, which for me is a plus. However, he was spazzy enough to entertain my kids, which was another plus. And, the premise of the whole film was enough to bring back the magic that the original book brought, though in a completely different way.
When Carrey’s Mr. Popper opens up his tres chic NYC apartment and allows it to become a penguin habitat, complete with ice everywhere and snow topped granite counters, as unbelievable as it was, I was with my kids in the fun factor in imagining doing that. And the suspension of disbelief in watching those animated penguins was easy because I got pulled into wanting to believe they had such distinct and hilarious personalities.
However, Popper’s assistant, Pippa, and her speech impediment of peppering Ps perpetually was positively ANNOYING and distracting and not all that amusing to even my kids. And please, why did the film have to result to a farting penguin for laughs? Even the kids were distracted by that. Luckily, Captain, the penguin with the penchant (geez, even I’m getting stuck on the Ps) for flight and Nimrod, the clumsy penguin, made up for Stinky, and those are the two who really stood out.
And as for my son, when I asked him how he liked the movie, he said it was worth the stomachache of too much popcorn, but now didn’t have to read the book with the same name. I told him not to worry–the movie was not a spoiler at all.