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10/29/11

THE BEAVER - REVIEW


Here's a little film which I saw ages ago and talked about long before its release (Gibson + Beaver = lols) but never actually got around to reviewing. Why? Well, I quite simply didn't know what to make of it. Sold as a kind of harmless, cute indie comedy, The Beaver looked like fun and the very idea of Mel Gibson with a cockney beaver hand-puppet alone made me very happy indeed.

Imagine my surprise then when the film ends in the most unsubtly depressing way imaginable!

I won't spoil it but jeesh!

So it all starts off as a kind of happy-go-lucky dramedy about a guy going through a mental breakdown and finding salvation in the titular beaver. The Beaver helps him through a difficult time in his life and it all seems to be heading towards a nice little Disney-approved ending.

Then Mel fights The Beaver.

Literally.

It's HILARIOUS.

But then it's followed by something so dramatically crazy your jaw will probably drop as you suddenly find yourself in a very different movie. It's a daring move on Jodie Foster's path to go in that direction and, had it been handled a little better, it could have made for a really powerful headbutt to the balls (read: heart). But, because of an overly whimsical first half and one of the most uninteresting subplots you're likely to witness involving a dislikable Jennifer Lawrence being a secret graffiti artist (sure she is) and asking Anton Yelchin for his help with her graduation speech (yawn) that ending is just uncalled for and messily put together.

This is not an enjoyable film to watch.

The comedy parts are more sweet than funny, the dramatic parts feel awkward and the subplot...well...it's lame, let's just say it's lame. That said, I love the idea and applaud Foster for taking a leap and making an honest film about depression and mental illness rather than cheaply playing it for laughs. Oh sure I would have been happier with a straight-up goofball of a movie with Mel Gibson acting crazy and arguing with his puppet the entire time but that would have been a pretty shallow movie, I'll admit.

Shallow but genius.

Foster's film is far from perfect and is pretty flawed throughout but its intentions were noble, its message was honest and its Mel-on-Beaver fight was glorious. It's both a cute and unpleasant watch so that makes it hard to recommend but if you do get a chance to check it out, at least once in your life, give it a go... it has a talking beaver in it.

Just don't expect Liar Liar.

Jeesh.

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