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After a long vacation from the spotlight, Jim Carrey’s suddenly everywhere. He hosted a pretty good SNL last weekend, he appeared on Inside the Actor’s Studio on Monday, and now photos from his next movie, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, have hit USA Today. The pics are pretty much what you’d expect: Carrey pulling faces at a cadre of cuddly antarctic birds. More interesting, though, are the plot details that accompany the photos in USA Today‘s slide show. Though Penguins is based on the Newbery Honor-winning book of the same name, it seems like the two share little beyond being about dudes named Mr. Popper who make friends with some penguins.

To wit: The book’s Mr. Popper is a humble family man from the sleepy town of Stillwater who works as a house painter but longs for adventure. His penguins are an unexpected gift from Admiral Drake, a polar explorer who’s touched by a fan letter Popper sends him. Jim Carrey’s Tom Popper, though, is “a New York real estate developer who tears down beloved landmarks (like Tavern on the Green) and erects cookie-cutter skyscrapers in their place.” His workaholism has estranged him from his wife and his eccentric father, who bequeaths Popper the penguins after he dies.

So basically, Hollywood has transformed a sweet, absurd story into a more familiar tale about a cutthroat businessman whose heart will grow three sizes as the result of something kooky happening to him. Kind of like Liar Liar, Jim Carrey’s hit about a slimy lawyer who’s magically forced to speak nothing but the truth for 24 hours. (Hey, I liked Liar, Liar!)

What do you think — is Mr. Popper’s Penguins suddenly on your movie must-list? And is this the Jim Carrey you know and love?

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