Oh Mel, does the state of your public image really depend on a stuffed beaver? Featuring two-time Academy Award Winners (as the title cards so proudly advertise) Jodie Foster (“The Brave One”) and Mel Gibson (“Edge of Darkness”), “The Beaver” is Foster’s latest, greatest directorial effort, a long-awaited 16 years after her last, “Home for the Holidays.” And no, it’s not a porno movie.
Picture this: Gibson plays the sad-sack protagonist, hated by his wife and kids for his angry and abusive ways. Sound familiar? His remedy comes in the form of a raggedy beaver puppet. Said beaver becomes fodder for therapeutic ventriloquism in a strange Irish accent. Flash forward a few trailer seconds, and the bucktoothed friend manages to make its way into the workplace, on a sweaty run and even into the shower.
“The Beaver” is probably supposed to be some beautifully elegiac tale of redemption about a man trying to communicate better with his family. The screenplay landed on the 2008 Black List and was lauded as one of the best unproduced scripts of its time, so the movie might actually end up becoming a hit. But the world just can’t handle Gibson as he heaves and hoes with the heavy lifting of a big deal actor. It’s just hits too close to life.