Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mr. Popper and His Poopy Penguins

We finished reading Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.  Mr. Popper's Penguins is the story of a house painter named Popper who is obsessed with travel and, in particular, the Antarctic.  One day, a penguin is delivered to his door as a gift from Admiral Somebody . . . and the CRAZINESS ensues.  His wife and children are supportive of having a pet penguin and everybody chips in.  More penguins are added to the mix and eventually they become famous theater performers.  Okey doke?  The chapters are super short, there are plenty of nice illustrations, and it's fun to imagine having a house full of snow and performing penguins, but it's not the greatest story I've ever read.  Whatever.  No big whoop.

Last night we watched the movie that came out last year starring Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper.  Very little of the original story made it to the screen.  In the movie, Mr. Popper is a stereotypical divorced dad who works too darn hard and can't communicate with his kids and is secretly still aching for his ex-wife (who, of course, is dating a forgettable schmo so we're okay when (spoiler alert!) the exes get back together in the end).  Popper's dead dad sends him a few penguins . . .  and the CRAZINESS ensues.  The Bad Guy in the movie is a penguin expert from the zoo who keeps insisting that raising eight penguins in a high-rise apartment isn't good for the animals.  The zoo dude tells Popper that the penguins belong in a zoo where they can be properly cared for.  "But they're family!" insist Popper's children (who are back on speaking terms with Dad because he's more accessible when he blows off work to play with the penguins he keeps in his apartment).  None of this should work, but I must admit that I laughed outloud and I kind of really like Jim Carrey.  And Angela Lansbury.  And penguins.  And movies where they play "Ice Ice, Baby" during the closing credits.  My kids like those things, too.  And penguins who poop and pass gas.  Whaddayagonnado?

2 Wisecracks:

Patti said...

Dare I say it? Mr. Popper's Penguins was one of my favorite books as a child. After reading about the movie I don't think I can go there. It's like setting A Little Princess in America. Oh wait. They did that.

allyn said...

Our school had a movie night and showed this. The kids stayed with it, but I thought it was just another version of the same old same old; divorced workaholic with a seemingly schizophrenic scheme which brings the family back together. I had no idea of the books' existence and really didn't have the urge to read it after watching the movie. With patti's plug, I think I will now.