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Conrad Vernon

'Penguins of Madagascar' hit by a blizzard of puns

'Penguins of Madagascar' hit by a blizzard of puns

It's hard to go wrong with penguins.

They can be elegant and emotionally engaging in real life, as the Oscar-winning documentary "March of the Penguins" beautifully captured. They can also be toe-tapping hysterical and wildly musical, as they proved in the animated hit "Happy Feet."

So how did "Penguins of Madagascar" run ... afoul?

Assault with unfortunate turns of phrase like that, I would say. The pun is a gun for "Penguins'" writers. Not a sharpshooter rifle, but a machine gun that unloads a nonstop quip barrage, mowing down the real promise of this 3-D animation action comedy.

For many, there will be enough reward to...