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Movie Review: Mr. Popper’s Penguins

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penguinsThis last Friday, Gideon, my oldest boy (who turns nine today) and I went to see a movie together for his birthday and Dad’s day. Since I was not sure that I could endure Jack Black + Pandas + Kung Fu, we chose the other movie billed as family comedy.

I do not go to the movies a lot. But when I do, I have often found well-produced movies with poor messages. Such movies always bother me because I know their production quality and good scripts will mean many, many will be taught things that are not true as their eyes sparkle and their bellies jingle with laughter.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins was exactly the opposite. I mean, I suppose the production quality was not horrific. The story was not dreadfully dull. Jim Carrey was Jim Carrey. But the movie was nothing that would stick in one’s mind for long. It was nothing that would earn the colloquial “You have got to see this” mark of approval.

Yet at the same time, the movie has a good message. The movie tells the story of a separated husband and wife and children reconciling. The movie begins with a divorced couple and its causalities: frustrated children.  By the movie’s end, after often-worshiped idols like success, money, and upward mobility are revealed as empty things, the couple reconciles, and the family was restored.

And so while the movie itself was not one of my favorites, it was refreshing to see a movie glorifying reconciliation and restoration rather than the usual list of things often put over in the movies of our day.

So if you are looking for a decent movie they whole family can watch that might just remind your family of the gift that family life is, you might check this out. For my money, I would think this would be a good rental choice rather than shelling out the big bucks for move seat. Kids (and adults) will get a few laughs watching the penguins interact with Carrey’s famous antics and expressions. But even more, you will get a chance to reflect on how good it is when family is healed and restored.

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