I have already gone on the record to say that I can't stand Jim Carrey. I recently saw him on a daytime TV show valiantly trying to prove how funny we must think he is. My view is even the lamest of actors can give one good performance. Carrey's high point was I Love You Phillip Morris. Mr. Popper's Penguins is not. Carrey clearly can act if he gets the chance, but he still cannot make me laugh. I find his rubber-faced antics, jerky movements and overall hamming it up offensive. Didn't he have his day in the sun and get replaced by Will Farrell who got replaced by Steve Carell? Let's face it, Hollywood is churning out generic scripts and ideas in "vehicle" movies in which comedians repeat everything they've done in every movie they've ever made. It's time for these tired old comedic repeat performances to retire. Thankfully, Carrey's star seems to be fading.
This innocuous film is more G rated than its PG tag would suggest. Penguins is touching, sweet, stupid and endearing and with the combination of Carrey as a goofy funnyman/jackass and cute penguins. What could possibly go wrong? The answer is nothing. This flick is such formulaic drivel that I can't fault it for its methodological genius.
Here we have Carrey in the role of Mr. Popper, a businessman whose life starts to unravel after he inherits six penguins. There's the initial requisite love/hate relationship among Carrey and penguins, the bonding with kids and ex-wife and, of course, the evil zookeeper. Turning his apartment into a winter wonderland, Carrey dances with penguins, makes faces and throws his body in different directions - it's basically Ace Ventura with a heart of gold. Popper's is an ensemble piece hinging on the (mostly animated) penguins, allowing only a few Carrey-esque moments including some over-the-top body language and bad "funny" voices.
And what could make this movie even cuter? That's right, they have... baby penguins! There was really no reason for me to see this movie, but in order to expand my critical horizons, I sat through this entire movie and I have to say I've seen worse, though not by not much. Balancing stupid with cute, this flick is aimed at charming kids and there it succeeds. Penguins is harmless fun, just not my idea of a good time.