Jim Carrey has made a number of stinkers during his career, but what makes the repellent “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” such a heartbreaker is that it arrives so soon after the domestic release of one of his finest performances, as the sneaky Steven Russell in “I Love You Phillip Morris.” It’s paycheck time again for the famous funny man, who finds himself sharing a frame with CG-animated penguins, barely staying awake while a moronic screenplay and an unimaginative director take turns urinating on a 1938 kid-lit classic. 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.
A driven businessman in charge of destroying beloved New York City landmarks for profit, Tom Popper (Jim Carrey) is facing a career challenge with Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Landsbury), the defiant owner of Tavern on the Green, who refuses to sell her restaurant. Keeping Popper from going in for the kill is a gift of penguins, willed to the heartless one by his estranged adventurer father. Hoping to ditch the creatures quickly, Popper finds the penguins bring his ex-wife Amanda (Carla Gugino), and kids Janie (Madeline Carroll) and Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton), closer together, leaving the harried leader of the pack frantic to find ways to care for his flightless guests. Eager to take possession of the penguins is a zoo official (Clark Gregg), forcing Popper into protection mode, which threatens his professional and domestic future.
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