Jim Carrey has never been one to shy away from trying to make people laugh. Whether he’s playing an eccentric pet detective, a maladjusted cable guy or just a plain old Grinch, Carrey has always gone the extra mile for a laugh. It should come as no surprise then that he jumped at the chance to share the screen with six living, honking Gentoo penguins. ”I wanted to do a movie that families are going to remember,” says Carrey. ”Some people resist working with children and animals, for fear of being upstaged. But I love capturing the spark of innocence. And what is better than animals – penguins, in our case – and children to bring that out in us?”
Based on the novel written by husband and wife Richard and Florence Atwater, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” was originally published in 1938. The following year, the book was a Newbery Medal honoree, an award given each year to the best children’s book. Since its publication, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” has become a classic read for children and is often required reading in elementary schools (3rd grade for me).
While the movie strays quite a bit from the book, Mr. Popper and his penguins are still at the heart of the story. As part of his father’s will, Tom Popper (Carrey) inherits six penguins from his dad’s latest, and final, expedition. As you’d expect, the arrival of half a dozen penguins creates chaos in Mr. Popper’s Park Avenue apartment. But, over time, the mischievous yet lovable penguins help him realize what’s been missing in his life.
“Mr. Popper’s Penguins” also stars Carla Gugino, Clark Gregg and Angela Lansbury.