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Capone prepares to poop profusely on MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

Let me pose a question in your direction. If you hate every single character in a film clearly designed for family consumption, how successful do you think said film will be? Granted, I don't usually bother myself with box office tracking or reporting; I don't think that's the job of a film critic. But I couldn't help but wonder as I endured MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS, "Who is going to enjoy this?" And for those of you who guessed that there might be a penguin poop joke or two in this movie, you win a prize.

Back to crowd-pleasing mode after his triumphant return to form in I LOVE YOU PHILLIPS MORRIS, Jim Carrey plays Mr. Popper, a real estate wizard looking to become partner in his firm (run by Philip Baker Hall). As part of his rise to the power, Popper has lost his wife Amanda (Carla Gugino) and fickle, annoying kids. He sees them on occasion, but Popper seems OK not seeing them. Popper grew up admiring his absentee father, who spent months at a time traveling to exotic locations, keeping in touch with his son via ham radio.

When said father dies, he leaves Popper a small army of penguins to care for, as fathers tend to do. As much as he'd love to unload the penguins in the care of marine fowl expert Nat Jones (IRON MAN and THOR's Clark Gregg), Popper's kids take to the penguins, and soon Popper's luxury apartment is turned into a winter playground in which both kids and penguins can frolic. But when his attempts to purchase the Tavern on the Green property from its owner (Angela Lansbury) falls short, Popper has doubts that his good-dad routine is good for him. I'm exhausted just thinking about how unnecessarily complicated this film is. There are more "villains" in this movie than are necessary, and all of them pale in comparison to how bratty Popper's kids are or how much of a Class A douche he is.

I did have some fun watching the hopelessly cute Ophelia Lovibond (best name ever, from NOWHERE BOY and NO STRINGS ATTACHED) as Popper's assistant Pippi, and Gugino is as charming as she always is, but beyond that, even cute penguins only carried this mess (based on the popular novel by Richard and Florence Atwater) so far. There isn't much to say beyond how much this one missed the mark. Set in a New York that only exists in family-friendly movies, MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS is certainly trying to wow us with its grandeur, while saddling us with a story that seems overblown, too cutesy, and staggeringly dull with saccharine. I expect a tiny bit more from director Mark Waters, who was somehow able to add some knowing edge to films like MEAN GIRLS, JUST LIKE HEAVEN, and THE GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST.

And then there's poor Jim Carrey at the center, working his ass off trying to entertain in this hopelessly PG environment. There's one moment at the end of the film where he busts into a court in slow motion that is genuinely funny. Other than that, you'd be lucky to go five minutes straight with a smirk on your face. I saved most of my bile for the penguins themselves, who don't actually do anything in the course of the film to make us love, or even like, them. I don't have anything against penguins, but this lot didn't inspire me to want to care about them in the slightest. I get frustrated with films where adults act like idiots, children act like adults (apparently all kids do is storm out of one room and into another), and animals act like animals, and MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS has all three. This movie blows ice chunks.

-- Capone
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Readers Talkback
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  • June 17, 2011, 7:13 a.m. CST

    Read the book, the trailer looks like crap.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Penguin crap that is.

  • June 17, 2011, 7:15 a.m. CST


    by shoveller

    Has a pretty funny comparison of this steaming pile and the other mound of dog faeces that is the Smurf movie. Seems like they're the same film... Can't be bothered finding a link though... Search for it yourselves...

  • June 17, 2011, 7:18 a.m. CST

    Where to begin? I guess in a nutshell the only similar thing about the book

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    is it's about a man named Popper with penguins. Other than that they changed everything. This is a movie that should have been like Fly Away Home, or Seabiscuit. It should have been a a heartwarming comed/drama about a family dealing together with 12 penguins named Captain Cook, Greta et al. None of this Poopy, Crappy, Dipshit, or whatever they're named garbage.

  • June 17, 2011, 7:25 a.m. CST

    And the book was so nice...

    by Dr_Willoway

    I remember reading it as a very young kid and enjoying it. Why couldn't they have gone with that?

  • June 17, 2011, 7:27 a.m. CST

    I miss Ace Ventura.

    by john

    Like a fuckin glove!

  • June 17, 2011, 7:48 a.m. CST

    wait.... Angela Lansbury is still alive?

    by Spandau Belly

    I think I had her on that list of people I assumed were dead by now.

  • June 17, 2011, 7:55 a.m. CST this why Carla Gugino isn't in Spy Kids 4?

    by bah

    Sad to say, I think she made the wrong decision if so.

  • June 17, 2011, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Spandau, Lansbury is the female Abe Vigoda.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    She's never leave this earth. She was old in Murder She Wrote, and that was years ago.

  • June 17, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST

    This movie needed a review?

    by BuffyFaithtribyeah

    Sounds like this movie is rife with penguin shit. What's going on with Jim Carrey's career? Oh Jim, remember the good ole days of In livining color, where haft thou gone fire marshall Bill?

  • June 17, 2011, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Jim gotta eat

    by elsewhere

  • June 17, 2011, 9 a.m. CST

    The Dove seal of Family Entertainment Approval..

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    ..the kiss of death to funny.

  • June 17, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    The trailer

    by Keith

    ...was the worst thing I've seen all year. My immediate thought was, "The trajectory of Carrey's career will never again be upwards".

  • June 17, 2011, 9:08 a.m. CST

    I like movies where animals act like animals...

    by Citizin_insane

  • June 17, 2011, 9:09 a.m. CST

    You loved "Hall Pass", this movie should be right up your alley.

    by DonkeyBalls

    Or did nobody from the studio influence you to kiss their ass this time?

  • June 17, 2011, 10:13 a.m. CST


    by Nasty In The Pasty

    More proof that all slang terminology in bad kiddie movies is required by law to be at LEAST fifteen years out of date.

  • June 17, 2011, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Carrey Wants Dumber & Dumber 2 etc

    by HarryWhereIsYourInceptionReview

    No wonder - he probably knows that this will tank. He hasn't had a big hit since Bruce Almighty in 2003. His policy was to never do a sequel and try and do more serious stuff. In recent years that policy has really reached a dead end. So bring on Ace Ventura, Mask, Dumb & Dumb sequels please.

  • Even with the mostly negative reviews, Green Lantern would be a better choice this weekend. And we can hit the zoo to see real (non- cgi) penguins. Although they smell strongly of fish and ammonia.

  • June 17, 2011, 11:16 a.m. CST

    I would go see it

    by Evan Dent

    if involved some Freaky Friday swap. Imagine Jim Carrey waddling around like a penguin the whole movie snatching up herring any chance he gets, while the penguin that hold his trapped personality tries to re-connect with his apathetic bratty kids. The joke store is open folks...

  • June 17, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    My MIL was a teacher & taught this book for 20 yrs

    by Somerichs

    She loves this book and has probably read it 30 times. I didn't know this fact before I saw the trailer, which makes this thing look like the exact pile of shit it seems to be. Only after I'd been told there was a fairly beloved book on which the movie was based did I hold out a glimmer of hope that maybe this wasn't a crass, lowest common denominator, CGI and cute animal fest. <p> Sounds like they worked up a number 6 on the book, afterall. Fuckin' pity.

  • June 17, 2011, 12:04 p.m. CST

    The book is fantastic the movie not so much

    by William Potter

  • June 17, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    The Jim Carrey-Jenny McCarthy sex THAT I would pay to see,

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    sp. when Carrey pulls down his pants and says in his Fire Marshall Bill voice LET ME SHOW YOU SOMETHING!

  • June 17, 2011, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Wait a minute, that trailer in South Park was based on a REAL movie??


    I thought it was just one of their made up ones. I mean, it seemed just as absurd as "The President is a... duck!?" or "Rob Schneider derp de derp".

  • June 17, 2011, 1:05 p.m. CST

    i feel like you could have written this WITHOUT seeing the movie

    by mattforce7

    I sure my MIND now super 8...think i'll go see that today

  • June 17, 2011, 1:06 p.m. CST

    @robin_hoods_recycled_piss...(Kevin Costner)

    by mattforce7

    The movie that i had no Idea was real Was Kevin Smiths Zoo Smeeper Paul Blart Business. Dear God...F**k family summers

  • June 17, 2011, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Amil Nitrate presents: Mr. Penguin's poppers.

    by cookylamoo

  • June 17, 2011, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Jim Carrey for Randall Flagg

    by flax

    In The Stand and/or The Dark Tower. Get his career back on track.

  • June 17, 2011, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Kids will love it no matter what

    by sunwukong86

    Have you ever sat in a movie lobby and listened to kids walk by? I did waiting for Super 8. Tons of kids walked by the Smurfs poster with their parents telling them how good it looked. Kids are easy to please.

  • June 17, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    I'd rather watch President Duck

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    HOW did a DUCK because U.S. President?? Rated "S" -- for SHIT.

  • What a group of terrible looking movies.

  • June 17, 2011, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Dude, get some sleep

    by Anthony Torchia

    There are 3 mistaks n thiss sentence: a missing "m", a missing "a" and an extraneous "the." Back to crowd-pleasing mode after his triumphant return to for[m] in I LOVE YOU PHILLIPS MORRIS, Jim Carrey plays Mr. Popper, a real estate wizard looking to become [a] partner in his firm (run by Philip Baker Hall). As part of his rise to [the] power.... Crappy movies are no excuse for crappy reviews.

  • June 17, 2011, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Kids like anything with farts or nutshots

    by Evan Dent

    But hey, I can't really say much considering that I still have a soft spot in my heart for "Howard The Duck".

  • June 17, 2011, 4:53 p.m. CST

    I was frankly shocked at Jim Carrey's appearance

    by FeralAngel

    His face is so lined...I know he's gettin' older as do we all, but DAMN. No excuse for him NOT seeing a plastic surgeon. That's Hollywood, dude, and a lot of an actor's appeal lies in his/her appearance. It's not so funny watching an old dude do a pratfall. Get a lift, Jim. No shame in it.

  • June 17, 2011, 7:21 p.m. CST

    At least Howard The Duck had Lea Thompson with 80's hair

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • June 17, 2011, 7:59 p.m. CST

    Are those the kids from Microsoft's E3 press conference?

    by Mel

    Looks at as shitty as them. "YES!" ::high five:: fuck children.

  • June 17, 2011, 8 p.m. CST

    LOL this was based on a book?

    by Mel


  • June 18, 2011, 12:25 a.m. CST

    The X Men First Class audience I was with loved the trailer

    by Johnno

    So yeah a lot of people love the shit out of these shitty movies... I don't blame kids for liking it. Kids love almost anything. As a kid I loved a lot of shit too. But despite saying that I can still look back on films I watched as a kid and discover that they are still leagues better than the shit they put out for kids now. The bar has been lowering with each generation... Actually scratch that, now that I think about it, everything I watched as a kid was pretty awesome and far better than the shit they churn out today. The only difference was they used older tech and cinematic techniques and didn't have all the fancy CGI. Animals are a lot funnier when they're doing naturally stupid shit like they do on America's Funniest Home Videos.

  • June 18, 2011, 2:01 a.m. CST

    Rated ARG for pirates!

    by Durendal

    Fuck you!

  • June 18, 2011, 2:16 a.m. CST

    Sorry Capone . . .

    by DrMorbius

    I'm waiting for Copernicus' review on . . . the Science of Mr. Popper's Penguins . . . before passing judgement on this.

  • June 18, 2011, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Let me show you something!

    by Darkman

    Someone at JoBlo suggested that Carrey make a Fire Marshal Bill movie. <br><br> I like that idea...and he wouldn't even need that much make-up nowadays.

  • June 18, 2011, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Flax..good call!

    by BadMrWonkaSucksCock

    Carrey is charming and tall enough to be Flagg.

  • June 18, 2011, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Why Is Jim Carrey Making Eddie Murphy Movies?

    by cylon_conspiracy

    If more people would have seen Yes Man, this wouldn't have happened.

  • June 18, 2011, 7:14 p.m. CST

    At least they didn't split it into two parts

    by ReportAbuse

    But doubtless there will be a sequel.

  • June 19, 2011, 4:43 a.m. CST

    If Gugino was your wife you'd work extra hard to

    by Dennis_Moore

    keep, her around.