Mr. Popper’s Penguins

July 28, 2011

Synopsis: Mr. Popper is a successful businessman close to landing a top position in his company. However, his relationship with his family has suffered causing his wife to divorce him and his children to become distant. But this all changes when he receives some penguins as a gift from his late father. Will they help him get his life back on track, and in time?

Now if you’re thinking to yourself “hey that sounds like the movie…(Insert title here)” you’re probably right. The plot for Popper’s Penguins is very generic and you can most likely predict the whole movie as it plays out. The big difference is that this particular film features our cultures latest animal obsession: the penguin (Happy Feet, March of the Penguins, and an endless list of others). Now ‘generic’ doesn’t necessarily equal ‘painfully awful,’ which the film is not. It’s a good movie to see with your family (especially with younger kids) but don’t go in expecting anything amazingly original or any pre-The Happening M. Night Shyamalan plot twists.

For those of you who are looking to relive your childhood experience of the book, you’ll probably be disappointed as the only things the book and movie really have in common are the name of the main character and flightless birds.

The one thing that may set this particular film apart from its many doppelgangers is Jim Carey. He has a tendency for making movies, even bad ones, enjoyable with his colorful personality and cartoonish mannerisms and Mr. Popper’s Penguins is no exception.  He’s also capable of pulling off the heartwarming moments when he needs to, making him an ideal pick for this movie.

Themes: Family, Priorities, Redemption

As far as themes go the biggest one is family. Having had a difficult relationship with his own father, Mr. Popper likewise has trouble relating to his wife and kids. Its only when he can come to terms with that relationship that he can truly better his current ones (sounds like a John Eldridge book). In addition, in order to restore his broken relationships he needs to sort out his priorities. At the onset of the movie hes sees his first and foremost goal in life as getting one of the top positions at his company. For him this is the pinnacle of success, and yet he can’t understand why his life is so mixed up. The cure for all these woes comes in the form of the penguins (bet you didn’t see that coming) who draw his family in and give him a second chance. whats more they also seem to be causing him to lose focus on his work and making him evaluate what its all worth in the end. Through all this he finds redemption. He is able to reconcile himself both to his family and to his late father and learns to put his relationships before his job.

My Final say: If you’re in need of a movie to bring your kids or younger siblings to, Mr. Popper’s Penguins will give you some good laughs and heartwarming moments without a lot of that “oh geez I hope my child didn’t catch that innuendo” moments (if your child is in the public school system and/or has access to the internet, then yes, yes they did…). If you’re older and want to see something with your with friends or flying solo you may wish to consider some of our fine superhero movies….


3 out of 5 Zipped Lips

While be being somewhat generic in overall storyline, Jim Carey makes this movie stand out in a world of Penguin films.


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