Mr. Popper’s Penguins is back, Jim Carrey-fied, and totally fun.

Mr. Popper's Penguins movie

The 1937 book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, figured into my early years. Chances are that you (and your kids) know and love the book, too–it’s a classic. So when I learned it was going to turned into the movie Mr. Popper’s Penguins starring Jim Carrey, I got twitchy. Would it be Hollywood-ified like so many other books-turned-movies, with rapping penguins and a Miley Cyrus soundtrack? Would it be anything like the book?

Answer: it’s not like the book. And that’s exactly why it’s going to become a classic in its own right.

[catch a huge giveaway after the jump!]

In this version, Tom Popper (Carrey) is a successful
real estate exec in New York City whose family life is in
shambles. He receives half a dozen penguins after his absent
world-traveling father dies, which his kids love, so he turns his modern
apartment into a winter wonderland. Mayhem, as you can imagine, ensues.
As the
temperatures grow colder, the chilly relationship between Popper and his
family begins to thaw. And not to give away the ending or anything, but
some of that condensation might pool in your eyes. Because even though
this isn’t the same story as the original book, it shares the same heart. 
especially awesome? These penguins aren’t voiced by Gilbert Gottfried or
Ice T. In fact, they’re not voiced by anyone. In fact, aside from some CGI
to help the birds with their comic timing, these are real Gentoo penguins, doing
penguiny things.
Mr Popper's Penguins
Popper, Carrey is hilarious, adorable, and heartwarming, and in a
roundtable interview, he proved that’s the way he is in person, too.
Between spot-on impressions of Dick Van Dyke and Rodney Dangerfield, he described how his elementary school teacher gave him 15 minutes at the end
of every day to do a standup routine (no doubt shaping the amazing comic he is today). He also discussed his father, his
daughter, and his toddler grandson’s mischievous desire to make people
laugh. How great to know he’s yet another cool dad, making movies that families can feel good about.
Mr. Popper’s Penguinswhich
also stars Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury, Madeleine Carroll, and Clark
Gregg, each perfectly cast–will theaters on June 17, just in time for
Father’s Day. Take your dad, your kids’ dad, and maybe a penguin or two.  –Lexi

EXTRA-COOL: WIN IT!  Congratulations to Marsha W. — she won the $150 movie theater gift card!  Congratulations also to the ten winners of a Mr. Popper’s Penguins book:  Lisa F., Charlotte M., Sharon Z., Patricia Z., Gigi S., Carissa C., Amy S., Miriam C., Kris S., and Megan Walsh. 

Thanks so
much to Twentieth Century Fox for including Cool Mom Picks on the press
junket. I was well-fed and -feted at the Beverly Hilton in L.A. and
totally loved meeting the film’s cast and crew. But for the record, I
know I would’ve loved the movie in my own hometown theater too.

Lexi Petronis is a freelance writer, blogger for, editor of Albuquerque Magazine, and former contributor to Cool Mom Picks


  • Reply June 13, 2011


    I am so RELIEVED after reading your thoughts on MR POPPER’S PENGUINS starring Jim Carey. As a long time teacher and mother to many kids, I am not a bit embarrassed to say that the book, which was already ancient when I first read it as a child, IS THE SINGULAR BOOK I would have taken had we ever had the proverbial:”Fire in the house, and once the people and animals were safe, I WOULD CHOOSE!”I probably read it myself well over a hundred times, read it to my children at least 3 times a year before bed over the course of 3o years of being a Mommy,read it to EVERY kindergarten and 1st grade class taught over 18 years and sent every student I ever had home at the end of every school year with his or her OWN copy. And, maybe a little over the top, I kept a full”larder” of copies and gave any child that wandered into our house to play or do homework..( as my children grew up, I began stocking “The Elements of Style” and foisting it on unsuspecting pre high schoolers!It would take hours for me to say what that book has meant to me and my children, but I CAN say that THE NIGHT the movie was announced, I got calls from all of my children and an additional 31 calls from now grown kids I’d introduced to Mr.Popper! I was deeply touched, but terrified of what a movie might do to the classic. Thank you for assuring me that this movie never attempted to BE THE BOOK, but chose to BE ANOTHER
    story, with some common denominators, VIA A MOVIE!
    I have a date w/ several of my own children, now adults, Friday night to see the movie, and I CANNOT WAIT!

  • Reply June 13, 2011


    Saw the preview before the X-men movie and said to my hubby “I think that is based on a book” Never read the book which sounds like a tragedy but love the concept of the movie (at least what the preview alludes to). Besides my favorite animal at the zoo are the PENGUINS. What an awesome giveaway – Thanks!

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