If there are two things today’s children delight in, it’s the gentle, balletic flailing of Jim Carrey, and stories of adults whose personal and professional lives are disrupted by the invasion of CGI creatures. If there are three things that fill our 21st-century brood with bubbly elation, and induce them to cast adoring eyes at parents and guardians as if to say, “Thank you for bringing me into this world, and more specifically, for bringing me here to share in this experience,” then add to that list the sight of CGI cute-balls dancing to 20th-century pop hits—a formula that’s been scientifically proven successful time and again through experiments like Yogi Bear and Alvin And The Chipmunks and its squeakquel.
In that sense, Mr. Popper’s Penguins has absolutely everything: It adapts Richard and Florence Atwater’s classic 1938 children’s book about a poor house-painter driven to near-ruin by his avian interlopers into a modern, less potentially distressing story about how a successful business executive—Jim Carrey, slowly unpacking his magician's suitcase of stock goofy faces and signature crazy-wheeze—has some fun times teaching a group of penguins to tap dance to “Ice Ice Baby,” because they are penguins, and penguins live on ice. They really do have this down to a science.
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