Story

Jim Carrey plays successful New York commercial real estate agent Tom Popper. Although he’s incredibly successful in his business, Tom struggles to keep up a meaningful relationship with his two children, Janie (Madeline Carroll) and Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton). Tom also has a bad relationship with his own father, who chose to sail around the world rather than spend time with Tom as a child.

Tom’s life changes dramatically when his father dies and leaves him six rare penguins. Tom is determined to give the penguins away to the New York Zoo. But when he notices that the penguins bring him closer to his children and his ex-wife, Amanda (Carla Gugino), he decides to keep them for a while. Slapstick antics take over as the cute penguins wiggle their way into Tom’s life and heart. Pretty soon Tom has developed a genuine, caring relationship with the creatures. Also, his relationship with his two children has begun to mend, and it looks like love might blossom again with Amanda.

Tom’s work colleagues, however, decide that Tom is losing his mind. He’s threatened with the sack unless he convinces the difficult Mrs Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury) to sell one of the most sought-after properties in New York, the Tavern on the Green. Tom begins to unravel as the competing demands of work, parenting and caring for six rare penguins take their toll.

Themes

Divorce; death of a parent

Violence

This movie has some violence. For example, Mr Popper and family take the penguins back from the zoo and the zookeeper chases them. Mr Popper ties the zookeeper’s hands and then makes him hit himself in the face several times. The zookeeper isn’t hurt, and the scene is set up in a funny way.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scene mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example, Tom’s angry when the penguins first arrive at his home. He says mean things to the penguins, although he’s not physically cruel.

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scene and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could disturb children aged 5-8 years. For example, the movie has a subplot involving Amanda and Tom’s relationship and divorce.

The end of the movie is unrealistic, because Amanda and Tom simply get back together. Some children from separated families (particularly those aged 5-10 years) might be confused or upset because they also want their parents to get back together.

From 8-13

Aside from the scenes mentioned above, there are no more scenes likely to scare or disturb children aged 8-13 years.

Over 13

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example, there’s a reference to ‘viagra-tality’ about a large building.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie has some use of substances. For example, grown-ups drink alcohol at a function.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Apple, Yahoo, Giants and Trump.

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language and toilet humour, which children might imitate.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Mr Popper’s Penguins is a feel-good family comedy about a man’s journey as he discovers the value and importance of family.

The main messages from this movie are about the:

  • importance of family loyalty and commitment
  • things in life that are more important than money and success.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include forgiveness and standing up for the things you believe in.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk about divorce and its impact on families.