“Mr Popper’s Penguins” (G) ★ ★

AMBITIOUS property developer Tom Popper (Jim Carrey) lives apart from his wife and children.

Tom’s globe-trotting mariner father sends him six penguins. Tom converts his high-rise apartment into a penguin-friendly environment.

While what Mark Waters’s film says about keeping exotic animals as pets may seem cute, it sends some very wrong messages to young viewers.

Not because any kid’s likely to get a penguin for Christmas (illegal, in any case) but because animals have specific requirements and the more exotic the animal, the more complex the requirements.

Relationships within families are complex, too. The Popper family broke apart because of Tom’s obsession with his job.

While he has the penguins, the kids love him. Without them, the kids reject him. He needs attitudinal re-structuring to escape being a total loser. And the kids need counselling!

A film aimed at an audience too young to see through its porkies is, in my book, malicious. Any proposal that “Mr Popper’s Penguins” makes a valid statement about restoring family unity doesn’t convince me.

At all cinemas

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