With, say, Eddie Murphy as the star, Mr. Popper's Penguins might have been a glorified paycheck contrivance. But Carrey is so naturally stylized that he coaxes the film's gentle, creature-feature insanity to life.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
A mildly amusing specimen of a genre that has produced some of the most unspeakable atrocities of recent cinema.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Mr. Popper's Penguins bears almost no resemblance to the classic children's book of the same name. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Carrey, who is something of a CGI peacock himself, is the best thing about the film, which should delight young audiences even as it diverts their adult handlers.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
Everything about it is synthetic except for the occasions in which Carrey can rouse himself from the somnolence of family-movie slop.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
Fervently panders to an under-10 audience with Carrey's main requirement only to mug in a variety of reaction shots to his beaked sidekicks' mischievous hijinks and to provide name-brand legitimacy to a dim and unfunny project.
Nick Schager - Village Voice
Thanks to plucky performances and some perfectly precious pets, "Mr. Poppers Penguins" provides a pleasant, if obviously packaged, pursuit.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
My heart was warmed by gratuitous moments when Mr. Carrey clowns for clowning's sake -- in the best of them, he makes a slo-mo entrance to a press conference, even though the camera is running at normal speed.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Be prepared for the oh-so-real possibility that your kid -- or your wife -- is going to want a penguin for Christmas after seeing this movie.
Joy Tipping - Dallas Morning News
It's an old-fashioned movie, gentling its way toward satisfying familial reunion, fueled by almost always endearing penguin antics.
Kathleen Murphy - MSN Movies
The director, Mark Waters, moves things briskly along and lets the charming absurdity of penguin behavior rise to its inherently good-natured heights.
Bruce Diones - New Yorker
Mr. Popper's Penguins is a stupefying dumb family movie proving that penguins have limited charisma as pets.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Director Waters did the "Freaky Friday" remake as well as "Mean Girls," and knows enough not to turn a slapstick melee into a headache.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
The beloved 1938 children's book about a house painter who becomes guardian to a dozen penguins has been turned into a standard-issue children's comedy with Jim Carrey.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
A slick, soulless adaptation of the children's book classic...
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
The film is just another slice off a very stale loaf, but it's earnest and benign. It's sometimes funny and contains no ingredients that are bad for you, unless you are allergic to sap.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Why is Jim Carrey standing around watching penguins be funny? Why isn't he in a movie where Jim Carrey is funny?
Tom Long - Detroit News
Director Mark Waters manages to wring some charm out of the film, and out of Jim Carrey.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Following his terrific performance in the R-rated I Love You Phillip Morris, Carrey has turned to a soft PG vehicle, and shows too much strain to make the comedy viable.
Robert Koehler - Variety
A surprisingly touching, low-key ballad of middle-aged male regret disguised as a kiddie comedy replete with poop and fart jokes and soccer balls launched at Popper's crotch.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
It's not very good, but it works better than it has any right to because Carrey never ever phones it in.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Although the mix of real gentoo penguins and CGI tricksters will keep youngsters entertained, we spend a lot of time waiting for the movie to shake a tail feather.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Such a brazenly moronic and uninspired example of a family movie that you'd swear it was a parody of brazenly moronic and uninspired family movies.
Eric D. Snider - Film.com
Carrey looks frozen out of his own movie -- a stiffer and less elastic version of the younger dynamo. He could have used some of that CGI magic himself.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
What the heck became of Carrey's career as a comic genius?
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
The six penguins cast in this amiable Fox family comedy steal the movie -- along with any fish they can find -- although the film's star, Jim Carrey, does manage very nicely to hold his own.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
All of this would be simply banal if not for Waters' surehandedness and Carrey's clever inserts. This is staccato Carrey, throwing in lines and rubbery faces in between the kid movie machinations.
Jake Coyle - Associated Press
"Mr. Popper's Penguins," a mildly amusing flight of fancy for the family crowd, is far better for its penguins than its Popper.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Even minor Carrey is undeniably entertaining.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
Kid-friendly, if not exactly potty-trained.
Popper is just a pooper.
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
In a desert of "family films," it stands out as a surprising oasis.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
grown-ups will quickly become annoyed with the squawking, the poorly conceived penguin names and the copious amount of penguin poop
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Look out for perky Brit Ophelia Lovibond, who provides a perfectly pleasing performance as Popper's alliteration-prone assistant, Pippi, who peppers her pronouncements with a profusion of p's.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
familiarity only adds to the feeling that this is just another Carrey movie
James Luxford - The National
Director Waters, who knows his way around young adult fare having directed such films as the 2003 version of "Freaky Friday" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles," again shows a keen eye for finding humor in everyday life
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
Hollywood might be trying to tell us that the answer to a midlife crisis is pets, not Prozac, but those behind the camera could certainly do with a little something to perk them up a bit.
Andrew Simpson - Fan The Fire
Vanilla Ice over the closing credits? Pretty much perfect.
Mike McCahill - Scotsman
The laughter is intermittent and is ultimately overwhelmed by a wave of sentimentality.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
Much of the plotting is perfunctory but the slap-stick is fun and Carrey, toning down his usually mugging, shrewdly lets the penguins steal the show.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Sadly, this is a one-joke film which Carrey cannot keep afloat...
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
A saccharine family-oriented comedy, which hammers home the central message about parental responsibility and love triumphing over adversity with all the tenderness of a nasty case of frostbite.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
It's not an awful film but, in the end, it's nothing much at all.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Carrey can single-handedly kill a good comedy with his OTT shtick, but this time he reins it in and the film is all the better for it.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
This is Jim at his most Carrey-esque, back in Ace Ventura territory.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
Remember Adam Sandler in Click? Robin Williams in Hook? Eddie Murphy in The Haunted Mansion? Then congratulations, you've already seen this movie.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Jim Carrey's latest is a perfectly pleasant if predictable picture about a part-time pop who learns his priorites after receiving a package of penguins.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
As family entertainment for the summer holidays it isn't bad, and Britain's Ophelia Lovibond does well as Popper's perky assistant, though Carrey is fundamentally subdued.
The best thing about Mr Popper's Penguins is that it makes no discernible sense.
- Daily Telegraph
[Carrey's] face performs gymnastic, nay pyroclastic, spasms while the voice cracks gags as a top chef cracks eggs: quickly, expertly, instantly separating, when possible, the joke from the runny stuff.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Raises the odd chortle but is unlikely to appeal to anyone over 10.
Jason Goodyer - Little White Lies
It's not an unwatchable film, it's just that, like the flightless birds, it never manages to take off.
Roz Laws - Birmingham Post
This is ultimately standard family fare that will keep children happy without really making a lasting impression.
Terry Staunton - Radio Times
Holy mother of pearl, talk about superficial claptrap!
Derek Adams - Time Out
Enjoyable family comedy that sticks to the predictable formula but succeeds thanks to a witty script, several great gags, impressive penguin effects and a superb comic performance from Jim Carrey.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Like a bottle of cola that's lost its fizz, Mr Popper's Penguins is flat and sickly sweet.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
Sweet-natured, undemanding family fun.
James White - Empire Magazine
Carrey fans will be let down by the rubber-faced one playing straight man to a pack of penguins. While kids may find the plot p-p-past its sell-by date.
Ken McIntyre - Total Film
- National Post
Overall Carrey is wasted in this film, which is overtly geared towards children with its broad humour and thick sentiment.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
(This) lightweight piece of family fluff will be amusing only to people who think the idea of a penguin pooping is hilarious. So under 10s, basically.
Matt Neal - The Standard
The frontrunner for worst film of Carrey's career.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Feathery fun, you know, for kids. And penguins.
David Michael Brown - Empire Magazine Australasia
If Mom was still alive, she would be as mad as a wet hen. Or maybe a dry penguin.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
Mark Waters plants his camera and mostly lets Jim Carrey work his comedic schtick (and, thankfully, his dramatic chops) in Mr. Popper's Penguins.
Simon Foster - sbs.com.au
For all its slickness and occasional fakery, it works because deep down it's jangling a universal nerve that is worth jangling
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
I haven't laughed as much for a long time; Mr Popper's Penguins has the cute factor, is hilariously funny and its heart is ... warm
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Divorced or office-bound parents, beware: A kid who figures out the film's underlying message may just start asking for a puppy, or a pony.
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
Carrey modulates his comedy for a kid-friendly audience
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
Mr. Popper's Penguins has enough originality (and silly physical comedy) to make it stand out.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Just when you think penguin mania is over, here comes 'Mr. Popper's Penguins' starring Jim Carrey plus the cutest bunch of penguins ever to waddle across the screen and steal your heart.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
pitch perfect fun.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
March of the Penguins Plus Puerile People. There's the cute-animals schtick, lazy toilet humour, and a squawwwking message about rediscovering both inner child and family.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
The good news is that, even though one must pace oneself through the dull parts, usually involving Mr. Popper's dullish family, [Carrey's] in pretty good form whenever he's getting physical
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
This is Carrey phoning it in, without any of the usual Carrey hi-jinx that makes these films worth watching.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Jim Carrey's warmest, funniest movie in years and its perfect for kids and adults.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Not nearly as dismal as it could have been.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
With a bit of heart, a bunch of cute penguins, Jim Carrey not overplaying it too much and a dash of Angela Lansbury Mr. Popper's Penguins actually turned out to be quite charming.
Matthew Razak - Flixist.com
Mr. Popper's Penguins will certainly delight the kiddies, but their parents might wish for a tad more Jim Carrey irreverence.
Kit Bowen - The Movie Kit
It may not be faithful to the original book, but now kids and parents will be able to enjoy both together.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Jim Carrey shrewdly lets his tiny co-stars have most, but not all, the fun in Mr. Popper's Penguins
Christian Toto - What Would Toto Watch?
This movie is definitely for young kids--anyone over the age of 8 will be insulted by how predictable it is.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
Kids will love the funny antics and parents might enjoy that Carrey is not over the top.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Mr. Popper's Penguins is a delightful family film from an industry void of them. Take the kids or the grandkids and have a few laughs.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Putrid, puerile and painful.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Not a classic by any means, but Mr. Popper's Penguins does manage to provide some mildly, entertaining family fun.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
Take just about any trope from a "kids and animals" flick, and you'll find it here, in its purest form, untainted with any creativity or charm.
Dan Lybarger - KC Active
Yet another almost ghastly film wrapped around the gigantic talent that is Jim Carrey.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Jim Carrey's silliest animal vehicle since Ace Ventura!
Kam Williams - NewsBlaze
Carrey has never been better, filing down the rough edges of his manic tendencies into a performance that times the comedy of pratfalls and slow burns with faultless precision
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
An explicit shot of a penguin doing its business on a man's face [is] an apt metaphor for what the movie has to offer family audiences.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
A warm comedy with enough broad humor to appeal to little moviegoers.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Infantile family comedy...a cutesy, by-the-numbers mixture of slapstick and sentiment.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
[Carrey's] always "on," even when the character is supposed to be off; by the end of the movie, there isn't a piece of scenery that doesn't bear his teethmarks.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
The closest thing to a surprise that it has to offer viewers is that it doesn't actually star Eddie Murphy.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
A bland family film where your struggle with consciousness will be the most exciting thing happening in the theater.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
Theoretically, hilarity ensues. In fact, the laughs, such as there are, are mild and sparse..If Carrey is less manic than you anticipate, he's also a lot less funny.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
It totally delivers on having Jim Carrey and penguins in it. Really not much to say here. The movie does everything it promises to, it's cute, it's light and that's fine.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
Mr. Popper's Penguins ranks as just another in a long line of disappointments from Carrey.
David Nusair - About.com
Mr. Popper's Penguins finds Carrey in an agreeable groove, gliding smoothly.
Kevin Williamson - Jam! Movies
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
As bastardizations of beloved children's books go, this one isn't terrible-certainly not as offensive as The Cat in the Hat, for instance-but it has the potential to be a genuinely good movie and blows it. That's a real shame. In a total...
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Mr. Popper's Penguins has hatched a refreshing, hilarious and heartwarming movie for everyone.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
Carrey's penguin antics are predictable but still funny.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
Fortunately, the movie throws adults a few bones along the way; this is by no means an unpleasant film to watch, and the Ice Age short that runs with it is funny, too.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
Jim Carrey's farts-and-flippers comedy, which, though exceedingly dumb, is at least very smart about what appeals to 4- to 10-year-old kids, fans of Happy Feet, March of the Penguins, and YouTube animal videos.
As in Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty, a simple premise is established and Carrey is unleashed upon it.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
'Mr. Popper's Penguins' is Hollywood formula, but it's well poured and goes down easy. (Full Content Parental Review also available)
Teddy Durgin - Screen It!
You'd better learn to delicately sit on a penguin egg and develop really strong feelings for it or you're a failure as a father.
Dave White - Movies.com
"Mr. Popper's Penguins" the best family film this year and a must for the summer!
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
Blandly flimsy, formulaic, forgettable comedy.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
See it for the air conditioning and cheap babysitting, but stay for a shred of surprising charm.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
Waters neatly integrates trained birds and computer-generated imagery, but the warm-blooded actors are stuck with a story that refuses to fly.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This is a purported comedy, loosely and irresponsibly based on a children's novel, that only Leona Helmsley could love.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Somehow it kind of clicks.
Neil Rosen - NY1-TV
...has so many CGI penguins that we might as well be watching the latest version of Angry Birds.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
Carrey generates zero laughs with one penguin. Then five more penguins arrive, and even youngsters should know the product of six times zero.
Matt Pais - RedEye
...based on a 1938 novel that it appears to have little in common with, presumably because poo and fart jokes were not in vogue back then, not to mention that modern yet already moldy cliche of the dad who works so much, he's lost sight of his family.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It stokes memories of an era of clever, adventurous and genuinely sweet movies for kids, on one hand, while planting a future memory of quality for today's tykes.
Tom Keogh - Seattle Times
The message of valuing family over work feels half-baked because the film defines doing the right thing as breaking penguins out of a zoo and harboring them in a high-rise.
Robert Levin - Critic's Notebook
Whatever fond memories audiences have of the Atwaters' work, Hollywood wants to poop all over them.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
A formulaic family comedy with little to offer other than prepackaged life lessons and Carrey going through the motions of lame slapstick and a half-hearted catch phrase.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
A particularly plain, patly penned picture preoccupied with penguin poop.
It's yet another variation of the uptight character who loosens up through the intervention of (blank). But the transition of Popper turning from corporate raider to familial guardian (and back and forth again) is unconvincing.
Jon Niccum - Kansas City Star
It used to be that a comedian had to make an armed services comedy. Now, we stick them in domestic stories about daddies who learn family is more important than work.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
Be prepared to spend long, nerve-wracking months telling your progeny that there is no way they are ever, ever going to have a pet penguin.
Maitland McDonagh - Film Journal International
Despite humor that relies too heavily on bird farting and pooping, the sometimes-sweet Penguins doesn't stink.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
Flightless and foul.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
might be the closest Jim Carrey will come to making a third Ace Ventura film.
Sean O'Connell - Filmcritic.com
A film that can't seem to buy into its own strident message of "family first," possibly because to prove your love, you apparently have to risk the wrath of everyone from your co-op board to PETA.
Alison Willmore - AV Club
... the movie's very lack of surprises has its own cozy comforts ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Mr. Popper's Penguins is all about the lowest of the lowest common denominators. When in doubt, it runs to animal gas or inherent cuteness as an entertainment placeholder.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
Everything about the idea of "Mr. Popper's Penguins" sounds lovely, and everything about the actual movie is ugly.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
The whole enterprise is surprisingly painless, albeit in an icy-cool, numbed-out way.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
Come for the penguins, stay for the four fart jokes, four defecation gags, one shot of testicle trauma, and a series of sketchy messages for the wee ones.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
A goofily endearing family flick. It's nothing that won't be just as much fun on home video, but a pleasant enough time waster while kids are out of school.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
In spite of his adorable CG fish-eating accessories, Popper is just another lazy, family-friendly stock patriarch in a long line of clueless but basically well-meaning fathers that Carrey has played over the years.
Simon Abrams - Slant Magazine
While the story is formula cornball, director Mark Waters sells it confidently, handling the unruly antarctic denizens as amiably as he handled Lindsay Lohan in his Freaky Friday remake and Mean Girls.
Kevin Lee - Time Out
[VIDEO] You probably won't come away from the movie with any newfound appreciation for penguins, but you'll get what you came for from Jim Carrey.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com