Mr. Popper’s Penguins

(PG)  ★★★☆☆

The 1930s children’s book gets a sleek upgrade courtesy of Mean Girls director Mark Waters and star Jim Carrey, who manages to keep his rubbery face muzzled for most of this perfectly pleasant and predictable adaptation. Kids will love repeated scenes involving penguin poop, but parents won’t need a hip flask to get through the proceedings—the mark of a good family film if we ever saw one.

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Not So Super 8

Movie Review

Not So Super 8

The summer vacation doldrums are here, providing IQ challenges to moviegoers of all ages, but for adolescents with a lot of free time on their hands, Super 8 promises something extra. It’s the work of J.J. Abrams, the slam-bam hack writer-director of such junk as Star Trek and Mission Impossible 3 (OK, he also wrote the nifty, nail-chewing road thriller Joy Ride, which I liked a lot), but this time the producer is Steven Spielberg, so you have a right to expect something with a bit more quality.