Mr. Popper’s Penguins
PG
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury. Family Comedy. Written by Sean Anders, John Morris, Jared Stern, Sara Parriott. Directed by Mark Waters.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A Manhattan wheeler-dealer is caught up in business, sacrificing his attention to family. But when his explorer father leaves him a gift in his will of six penguins, the high-rise apartment dweller finds the birds, though havoc-causing, are helping to reunite his family.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I saw the trailer and decided I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than watch this film. But my colleague Mary Draughon was unable to attend. And since it was aimed at family, I knew it had to be screened. So, I took the snake venom antidote and cautiously entered the theater, surrounded by a hundred pairs of parents and their Clark Bar-eating, sticky-fingered rug rats. Does that sound like I was in the proper state of mind to give a fair and balanced account of Jim Carrey’s new movie?

Well, I’m not sure if it was my professionalism that kicked in, or if it was the sound of laughter coming from all those Clark Bar-eating, sticky-fingered rug rats, but I began to enjoy myself. It’s nonsensical, and of course, Dad needs to learn life lessons because he works hard and therefore ignores his children, but everyone, with perhaps the exception of film critics even more cynical than I, seemed to be having a good time.

Keep in mind, the biggest laughs come from penguin poop gags and from Mr. Carrey getting hit in the head or groin by soccer balls. Evidently this generation of Clark Bar-eating, sticky-fingered moviegoer thinks that’s fine art. The effects are terrific, the six penguins looking real to the point of having their own individual characteristics. And Mr. Carrey and the rest of his cast, including Angela Lansbury, are game (couldn’t help myself).

DVD Alternative: March of the Penguins. For older kids, teens and those who don’t wipe their sticky Clark Bar-eating hands on the theater seat arm rests, rent this award-winning documentary. In the Antarctic, every March, the quest begins for penguins to find the perfect mate and start a family. This courtship begins with a long journey – a trek that will take hundreds of the tuxedo-suited birds across seventy miles of frozen tundra to a location where the courtship will begin. It’s rated G and though it depicts harsh life and death struggles, it does so in a family-friendly way. It’s full of impressive, almost unworldly locations and amazing cinematography, and most importantly, it sends a powerful message concerning the importance of life. Nature is telling us about the sanctity of life. In a time when audiences are subjected to pro messages concerning euthanasia (Million Dollar Baby, The Sea Inside), the need for abortion (Vera Drake), and desensitizing images of violence toward our fellow man (most films), here is a film that reveals creatures in the wild sacrificing all in order to preserve life.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Summary
Crude Language: A few crude animal poop and flatulence references and sight gags.
Obscene Language: I caught none
Profanity: The expression “Oh My God” is used a few times, with it often abbreviated (“O-M-G”) by the lead and his kids
Violence: Lots of slapstick situations, including the lead hit in the groin and the head by a volley ball; other slapstick by the penguins, who generally cause havoc throughout.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Brief drinking at a party.
Other: None
Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Kids, with loving and kind-hearted parents

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