Bottom line: Mr. Popper's Penguins delivers lots of laughs for audiences of all ages. The movie contains some potty humor and language. Also, contains some thematic material concerning divorce.MPAA Rating: PG, for mild rude humor and some language
Guide age recommendation: 6+
Runtime: 94 minutes
Starring: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Ophelia Lovibond, Angela Lansbury
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Mark Waters
Release Date: June 17, 2011
Mr. Popper's Penguins - Overview
Mr. Popper (Jim Carrey) is a high power businessman with the top of the corporate ladder within his grasp. In order to reach that uppermost rung, his associates have challenged him to purchase the famous Tavern on the Green from the obstinate Mrs. Van Gundy, who does not want to sell. For a man used to juggling huge business deals and weekends with his kids, Popper is confident he can win over the old woman as well as his own daughter, who is going through a tough teenage phase.
Mr. Popper's personal and professional plans are complicated, though, when he receives a most unusual inheritance from his late father: a live penguin. The situation gets even more out of hand when, instead of getting a new crate to send the penguin back, Popper receives a crate full of five additional penguins. Then, things are further confounded when Popper's son, Billy, believes the penguins to be his birthday present and swiftly grows attached to the peculiar little birds.
Now, with Van Gundy blowing him off, an apartment full of noisy penguins, and two kids plus his ex-wife expecting him to keep the whole pet penguin charade going, Mr. Popper is in a real pickle. But, an apartment full of penguins might be just the kind of topsy-turvy thing that Mr. Popper needs in order to turn his world right side up.
Mr. Popper's Penguins - Guide Review for Parents
Mr. Popper's Penguins is based on the classic book by Richard and Florence Atwater, but the storyline is vastly different. Even with Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper, I wondered how they could really get enough mileage out of the story to carry off a decent movie. But, as it turns out, when you put Jim Carrey in a room full of penguins, all kinds of fun happens. A true family film, this movie generates a lot of laughs from all age groups. There is a lot of clever comedy incorporated into the unlikely story, and the film is quite well done, so that it's almost believable.
Also, Angela Lansbury and Ophelia Lovibond play excellent supporting characters, and they both round out the story in different ways. Kids will love the playful penguins and the whimsical wonderland that becomes of Popper's apartment, and there is plenty of fun for parents as well.
Parents should know, though, that the topic of divorce is front and center in the story. Popper and his wife are divorced, and while they are fully amicable toward each other, they do grapple with familiar issues like working out the kids' weekend visits to their dad's, and Popper's feelings about Amanda's new love interest. Also, the ending to this little love story presents a fantasy that some kids may wish for and never get, which could be a touchy subject for some children.
The film contains a fair amount of potty humor and some suggestive jokes. Also, the phrase "Oh my God" is used quite a few times and very obviously, which is a little much for a family film. I know not everyone is offended by the phrase, but enough people are that filmmakers at least need to be judicious in their use of it in a family film. The only other content of note, is that some characters are shown drinking alcoholic beverages like champagne. For a more detailed description of possibly offensive or unsettling content, please see the "content overview" below.
Mr. Popper's Penguins - Content Overview*May contain spoilers.
- Violence (Low): The film contains some slapstick violence like penguins pecking people. One man falls from a high place but is fine. People get hit in various places with soccer balls. A couple of heated arguments occur between Popper and people who want to get in his way, but comedic injections lighten the scenes.
- Scary Scenes (Low): Some children may be frightened or startled by very loud penguin sounds that sometimes burst out unexpectedly. Some children may be briefly unsettled when the penguins are in danger of being shipped away.
- Sex/Nudity (Low): A couple of scenes contain couples kissing or flirting. A couple of suggestive jokes are told. Mr. Popper's daughter is up and down about a boy at her school and who he asked out or kissed.
- Drugs and Alcohol (Medium) a couple of scenes show adults drinking wine or champagne.
- Language (Medium): The phrase "Oh my God" is used several times. Other
- Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (High): Mr. Popper sometimes makes empty promises, or tries to, and he bribes the hotel concierge to keep quiet about the penguins. He also manipulates people to accomplish his business goals. Janie is sometimes sarcastic and rude to her father. Mr. Popper makes frequent jokes about his boss being old.
- Sad/Unsettling Scenes (Low): Very young viewers may be sad or unsettled by a couple of scenes where the kids are disappointed in their dad, or when the penguins go away. Some kids may be upset or unsettled by the topic of divorce, although the movie does not get too heavy or emotional regarding the topic.
- Movie Topics Kids Might Have Questions About: divorce, weekend custody, tween relationship issues (Does he like me? Will he ask me to the dance? -- stuff like that), ethical business practices.
Mr. Popper's Penguins - On Blu-ray
- New Animated Short "Nimrod & Stinky's Antarctic Adventure": A silly cartoon in which the penguins deal with the guy from the zoo on their own turf
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- Penguin Pandemonium
- The Legacy of Mr. Popper's Penguins: Learn more about the book and authors
The Blu-ray contains several excellent bonus features that are fun for kids and families. Our favorites were the features that tell more about the real penguins including info about their habitat and where they came from, and also the features that show how the CG penguins were done. Fans will enjoy numerous deleted scenes, a couple of which add to the story and give audiences more understanding of the characters. I would have loved even more factual info about the penguins, but overall, the features add some great content to the title and add a good amount of value to the purchase of the Blu-ray.