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The film adaptation of the classic children's book Mr. Popper's Penguins started out as another collaboration between Greenberg misanthropes Ben Stiller and Noah Baumbach. When Baumbach bailed on the project a few weeks ago, apparently Stiller decided to follow suit, and now The Wrap reports that Jim Carrey, Jack Black and Owen Wilson are all being considered as replacements.

Carrey is reportedly the top choice, which makes sense only if this is 2001 and we're coming off How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas Carol never happened. The recent Robert Zemeckis mo-cap take on the Dickens story wasn't a bomb at all, making $137 domestically, but it landed with such a whimper that it seemed evidence that Carrey's name doesn't mean much for children's entertainment anymore. Black, on the other hand, is the beloved voice of Po from Kung Fu Panda, and Wilson... well, he's the voice of Marmaduke. So maybe Black is the only one succeeding here right now.

Though it would dip substantially into CGI to portray the titular birds, Mr. Popper's Penguins would be live-action and a giant production, which would give Carrey a chance to show off his actual face for once. Fox is also in talks with Mean Girls director Mark Waters to take over from Baumbach; yes, Waters is also responsible for Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Just Like Heaven, but his foray into kids storytelling with The Spiderwick Chronicles was pretty decent, and I wouldn't mind seeing him try it again. Really, anything is better than Baumbach turning Mr. Popper into some neurotic upper-class writer and making one of my favorite childhood books a morose existential crisis. I'd take poppy Mark Waters over that any day.