Mark Water‘s Mr. Popper’s Penguins trailer sets a tone, and that tone is of a family comedy from the mid 90′s. Even though the film opens on June 17 of this year, you’ve got Jim Carrey acting alongside CGI and real penguins and the trailer ends in a dance number set to Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.” It’s a movie that could have just as comfortably starred Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy back in the day, or even Carrey himself. And yet… here were are. Take a look.
The film also co-stars Carla Gugino and Angela Lansbury, but this is a teaser that sells the high concept that Jim Carrey is acting with penguins. The movie is based on a children’s book, and as such they’ve likely just taken the concept and little else to stretch it into feature length.
Though Jim Carrey has done children’s films before (like The Grinch), the “acting against animals” is a long standing and terrible genre of films that has fallen upon most of the great comic actors. Mostly it’s a bad genre because it revolves around mugging and humorous encounters with animal feces. They also usually involves a father or would-be father who learns to be a better one by growing to love and take care of the animal or animals that have been foisted upon him. The genre practically writes itself.
Still, they can make money. And Jim Carrey has not a hit in a while. Perhaps the people who grew up on Ace Ventura will take their kids to this.
Can you think of a good “Comedian playing against Animals” movie?