A family film that's familiar at the core, "Mr Popper's Penguins" stars Jim Carrey as the title character, whose father has passed away shortly after the film opens. The explorer father, however, has sent his son a particular package to NYC, which contains nothing less than a penguin.
Upset at the interruption to his busy life of business deals, he tries to figure out a way to get rid of the penguin only to find that several more arrive the next day. Before he's able to find a way out of the jam, his son thinks that the birds are his birthday present (which seems a tad unlikely, but meh) and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) thinks that he's "raised the birthday present bar."
The picture proceeds largely along the expected lines: the birds cause trouble in Popper's "no pets allowed" building, repair the relationship between Popper and his wife/children and we get a helping of fart jokes, given that one of the penguins has consistent gas (of course, each of the penguins has a specific personality.) Somehow, Popper still manages to attempt to charm Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury) into trying to sell his company the historic Tavern on the Green while keeping the penguins away from a zookeeper (Clark Gregg) who's tracking him (and is made to be the bad guy because he believes the penguins will fare better cared for in a zoo versus in a high-rise Manhattan condo.)
The movie takes the popular novel and plugs in a lot of the expected (including more than a few bathroom jokes), but the element that makes the film work as well as it does is Carrey, who gives a genuine effort as Popper and provides a performance that's both occasionally a bit moving and manages to generate a few good laughs out of average material.
VIDEO: "Popper's" is presented in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) on Blu-Ray by 20th Century Fox. Presentation quality is above-average, as while clarity and detail were not overly remarkable, the presentation appeared crisp and clear throughout the running time. Some minor edge enhancement was spotted, but the presentation otherwise appeared smooth and clean. Colors looked bright and warm, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 sound mix is dialogue-driven, with little in the way of surround use. Audio quality is fine, with clean dialogue and crisp, warm score.
EXTRAS: New animated short, "Nimrod and Stinky's Antarctic Adventure", deleted scenes, gag reel, original story sampler, penguin featurette, trailer, "Legacy of Mr Popper's Penguins", "Penguin Pandemonium" and commentary from director Mark Waters and members of the crew.
Final Thoughts: Carrey's performance is charming and enjoyable, which is why it's unfortunate that more effort couldn't have been taken with the script. The Blu-Ray edition boasts crisp, clean image quality and fine audio, along with a limited set of extras. Rent it.
The Film B-