Let's hope Mr. Popper's Penguins will change all of that. There is a little goofy behavior in the tale, but there's a much more serious and sensible undertone as compared to material like Alvin and the Chipmunks. However, there's two potential issues here: according to Deadline, the movie is being taken in a more "upscale direction" and the man they've finally secured to play Mr. Popper is one of the silliest guys out there, Jim Carrey, and supposedly for a reduced price.
He'll be working with Jared Stern's version of the script by Sean Anders and John Morris in which Popper will be a top-tier New York City businessman who inherits six penguins. As he gets more and more attached to his new buddies, his life starts to unravel. He turns his apartment into a North Pole-like environment, he slips up at work and almost winds up behind bars. For anyone who's familiar with Richard and Florence Atwater's 1938 book, you know this is not how the story goes. Apparently 20th Century Fox thinks most moviegoers can no longer appreciate a story about a humble housepainter from a small town. This is where films like Alvin & the Chipmunks and Marmaduke went wrong; they were too focused on modern elements. We don't need break dancing animals or ones trying to pass as rappers; we just need a film that honors the original story.
Now for problem two; Carrey. Fox has gone through a slew of the typical go-to comedy actors like Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, but in the end, the job is going to Carrey. Of the bunch, I'd prefer Stiller had gotten the role. Wilson will be tarnished in the world of CGI/live-action mash-ups for quite a while after Marmaduke and Black is just too over the top, but Stiller always has that warm personality, even when he's trying to get a laugh. I guess Carrey can achieve the same, but all I can picture is the guy making odd faces, talking in a ridiculous voice and turning Mr. Popper into a raving lunatic.
Oh well, this is what we're getting now, so we might as well look on the bright side. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind wasn't that long ago. Maybe if director Mark Waters can keep his star under control, he can get him to deliver a semi-serious performance somewhat akin to the caliber of that production.