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MOVIE REVIEW: The Beaver

Jodi Foster gives Mel Gibson a comeback nobody else would

  • Jodie Foster as Meredith Black and Mel Gibson as Walter Black in "The Beaver."
  • The Beaver
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Norah and Anton Yelchin as Porter Black in "The Beaver."
  • The Beaver
  • Jodie Foster as Meredith Black and Mel Gibson as Walter Black in "The Beaver."
  • The Beaver
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There are often actors that bring a lot of baggage to a role. It’s safe to say Mel Gibson falls into this category. He’s playing a depressed guy that has a drinking problem. Oh, now that’s a stretch. He places a beaver puppet over his hand and starts talking in a Michael Caine cockney accent. His near bankrupt company starts selling Mr. Beaver tool kits and they make millions. This leads to an appearance on the Today Show, with Matt Lauer talking about depression (Gibson uses the puppet to communicate at all times).

Even though I’ll tell everyone that will listen that they should boycott Mel Gibson movies, I’d still give this a good review if it warranted it. I think Roman Polanski is a rapist that should be in jail, yet his Ghost Writer was one of my favorite movies last year.

Jodi Foster is a great actress. She’s not the best director (Home for the Holidays, Little Man Tate). Jennifer Lawrence, who had such a strong performance in Winter’s Bone, did about as much as she could as the troubled cheerleader and valedictorian.

One problem with this movie is that the premise is hard to accept. I had a problem with Lars and the Real Girl, which was similar. At least in that, we got to watch the talented Ryan Gosling. It helps when you’ve heard of a condition the protagonist has. I’ve never heard of somebody wearing a puppet on their hand to help come out of their depressive funk. In the Sixth Sense, when a woman poisons her daughter, I had already known about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. I’ve heard of no case of a depressed alcoholic thinking his hand puppet is real and living through that puppet. I’m guessing even Jeff Dunham doesn’t do that on a bad day.

Other things were hard to understand, too – like why high school students would pay a kid $500 to write papers for them (especially when one is a valedictorian). I didn’t care for the accordion sounding musical score, which reminded me a lot of the music in 12 Monkeys (a great movie, and the musical score worked perfectly in it).

I’m not sure why Jodi Foster would keep the name The Beaver, when everybody giggles that says it. David Letterman spent five minutes on the title alone when he interviewed her last week. She couldn’t go with The Raccoon? And a different leading actor? Oh wait, she’s good friends with Gibson. Apparently, friends in Hollywood never hold you accountable for things, no matter how horrible. There were so many things about this movie that were cliché and not very interesting.

This movie gets an F. You’ve been warned.