Directed by: Mark Waters
Starring: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury
After last week’s preponderance of perfunctory pre-teen multiplex product, this peculiarly pleasing picture provides a lesson in how to do a kids’ film without patronising your preferred patrons, or those paying for them to take a peek. Mark Waters, a proven master of peppy projects (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday), proposes Jim Carrey as the eponymous Popper, a divorced father-of-two on the point of procuring a partnership at his Manhattan property enterprise when he takes receipt of his late papa’s nest eggs: six honking, pooping Gentoo penguins, prone to pecking apart his posh apartment.
Perching in the background are the same problems of paternity that underpinned Waters’ The Spiderwick Chronicles – not for nothing is the hero’s name a homonym – but it’s propelled along by perky performers, pulling out pithy quips whenever the plot prepares to lapse into sap. It’s perhaps a pity these penguins should primarily be pixelated, and deployed as part of a very conventional parenting paradigm. Still, PC parents should be placated by an anti-zoo agenda, and it p-p-p-picks up extra points for the perversity of putting out something this snow-bound in August. Vanilla Ice over the closing credits? That’s pretty much perfect.
Mr. Popper's Penguins is on nationwide release.