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Mr. Popper's Penguins/ Marmaduke Double Pack DVD

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Mr. Popper's PenguinsBased on the 1938 book of the same name by Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins is a comedy about how the surprise appearance of a penguin at a New York businessman's door turns his life completely upside down, while simultaneously teaching him an important lesson about the value of family. Far from the small-town painter featured in the book, the film's Mr. Popper is a real estate developer who lives in an exclusive apartment on Park Avenue, has his sights set on becoming a partner in his firm, and is an every-other-weekend father to his two children. A ruthless developer with no time for anything but business, Mr. Popper resolves to deal with his father's parting gift of a penguin by getting rid of the annoying bird as quickly as possible. That process proves much more difficult than expected, even with the help of his ultra-efficient assistant Pippi, who speaks primarily in p's, and Mr. Popper soon winds up with six penguins. Even more unexpected is how markedly those penguins begin to affect the relationship between Mr. Popper and his children and how that change affects the rest of Mr. Popper's life. Jim Carrey's performance as Mr. Popper is very good--he capitalises on the many comic opportunities afforded by the idea of keeping penguins in a New York apartment while showing an uncharacteristic restraint that's quite refreshing. Ophelia Lovibond is quite comical as Pippi and Angela Lansbury also makes a strong appearance as one of Mr. Popper's potential business clients. As Pippi would say, the premise of the power of the penguin to promote personal prosperity and perpetuate personal peace positively prevails in Mr. Popper's Penguins. (Ages 7 and older) --Tami Horiuchi MarmadukeMarmaduke is a lighthearted comedy based on the comic strip by Brad Anderson. When Phil gets a job with an organic pet food company in California, he moves his family, including his huge Great Dane Marmaduke and Balinese cat Carlos, from their home in Kansas in order to pursue his new job opportunity, but he's so wrapped up in his new job that he doesn't really take time to listen to his wife and kids and consider their needs. Marmaduke knows exactly what's going on, but he can't get Phil to listen, and besides, he's got his own problems trying to fit in at the local dog park. Phil and Marmaduke each struggle to impress their peers and reinvent themselves in the image of what they think others want them to be, but they only wind up hurting themselves and their family. Marmaduke is full of classic, if overused comic moments--the oversized dog passing gas while lying on Phil and Debbie's bed, Marmaduke and his dog friends trashing the house at an out-of-control dog party, and a crazy dog-surfing scene--but the gags manage to not completely overwhelm the plot, as happened in Furry Vengeance, and the film leaves viewers with an important message about the value of family, being true to oneself, and taking time to really listen to those you love. Marmaduke could almost be classified as Marley and Me light: it combines silly gags with a serious message like Marley and Me, but it lacks a high level of emotional investment. Voice talent includes Owen Wilson, George Lopez, Fergie, Emma Stone, and Kiefer Sutherland. Marmaduke isn't a great film, but the kids will be entertained by it and most adults will find it palatable enough. (Rated PG for some rude humour and language, but appropriate for most ages 7 and older.)--Tami Horiuchi

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A double-bill of comedies. In 'Mr Popper's Penguins' (2011) Tom Popper (Jim Carrey) is a business executive who has become disillusioned with the daily grind. But when he unexpectedly inherits six penguins, his life is transformed into a series of madcap adventures as he finally gets the excuse to indulge his childhood hankering for polar exploration. In the part live action, part CGI-animated 'Marmaduke' (2010) the Winslow family move from Kansas to Orange County, California together with their goofy, accident-prone Great Dane, Marmaduke (voiced by Owen Wilson), who soon experiences all kinds of trouble fitting in with his new canine neighbours.

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