Mr. Popper's Penguins Mark Waters

Mr. Popper's Penguins Mark Waters
Even though Mr. Popper's Penguins – the latest high concept work of condescension featuring Jim Carrey – is (very) loosely based on the children's book of the same name, it comes off more like a lethargic remake of The Family Man, wherein Nicolas Cage learned that financial and career success doesn't hold a torch to blasé, suburban heteronormative tedium. Only in this far more marketed exercise in creative apathy there are anthropomorphized penguins playing soccer, running around the Guggenheim and pointedly defecating on Carrey's exasperated, terribly aged face. And in case the sheer hilarity of penguin faecal matter doesn't have everyone rolling around in the aisles, Carrey gets hit in the balls and face repeatedly, which amuses the heck out of those rambunctious flightless birds. You see, after Mr. Popper (Carrey) makes a bid for corporate partnership at some ill-explained interchangeable firm that buys properties seemingly for nefarious, nondescript corporate badness, he inherits six penguins from his dead, absent father, which in turn brings him closer to his ex-wife (a bemused and degraded Carla Gugino) and clichéd, cipher children (Madeline Carroll, Maxwell Perry Cotton). Initially perturbed by his new spheniscidae friends, horrified by their wanton destruction of his posh NYC condo, he learns some seriously valuable lessons about, you know, wholesome Christian values. Angela Lansbury helps as well, since clearly rich, old people have nothing better to do than concoct elaborate plans to better complete strangers. She's not the only one behaving in an illogical, quizzically conceived manner removed from anything even partially related to reality though. It seems every single character in this movie is lost in a haze of painkillers and hallucinogens, nonplussed by penguins with human characteristics and passive-aggressive sensibilities, and are oddly empathetic towards a grown man throwing a schizophrenic fit in the middle of a corporate sales pitch. While the lazily conceived values are all fine and well in their undiscerning way, this perplexing presentation of humanity and social behaviours should only help increase Zoloft prescriptions ten years from now when the target audience is confronted with a world they've been trained to ignore and delude themselves about. Included with the DVD are a variety of cutesy supplements about shooting with penguins, creating CGI penguins and training penguins. It's a lot of information that doesn't add any depth or appeal to a forgettable, almost abhorrent film. (Fox)