Unseen Movie Reviews: The Beaver
From the looks of it, Patch Adams raped Nell and out came Mel Gibson’s Beaver.
The new Mel Gibson movie due out in Spring 2011 looks so bad that I am still, at this moment, unsure whether the joke is really on me. The Beaver stars Gibson and Jodie Foster, who also directs, and though described by some sources as a “dark comedy”, I see neither darkness nor comedy anywhere in the trailer, unless you count jokes on the audience as examples of dark humor. (Oh, and if you’re new to Unseen Movie Reviews, these are reviews I write prior to seeing movies and with no intention of ever evaluating my success rate.)
This disaster looks like a community theater adaptation of Superman with a hand puppet instead of a cape, and instead of superpowers, Mel Gibson gets the power to talk to other human beings without using the word “kyke” or threatening to punch their fucking teeth in. I’m not even going to stoop so low as to point out that what makes everything hunky-dory for this dope is putting part of himself inside a beaver. This Freudian reference will be made in dozen of other reviews, so I am hereby opting out.
Watch Gibson’s older son in the preview and you know this is no (intentional) comedy. This is the character we’ve seen in 10,000 better movies. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, partly for legitimate reasons (his dad has become detached and emotionally unavailable, most likely because his son is a caricature of a human being), and for some crazy reason, this son is not thrilled by the idea of his father adopting roadkill as an alter ego. Don’t fret, the son will come around. He’ll join all the other idiots in proclaiming his undying love for a psycho who is at least expressing himself somehow. Too many men keep their feelings in, so at least this putz (he uses Yiddish non-coincidentally) has some outlet for his emotional handicap.
I am in some sense pained by the fact that I must do to Jodie Foster’s decision to make this movie what was done to her character in The Accused. She is, after all, one of the few women in Hollywood who can pull off a halfway believable impersonation of an intelligent woman. But as everyone knows, we only utilize a small fraction of our brains over the course of our lifetimes, and this was one of those times when Jodie was using something else. Evidently, she is good friends with Mel Gibson. If any part of her reason to do this movie was to help Gibson’s public image, then while she’s at it, she should give him a role in a remake of Life is Beautiful as the character of Adolph Hitler. This time, Hitler could use the actual face of the cute kid as a hand puppet, and travel around Germany doing a ventriloquist act. (What did they throw at you in Nazi Germany if your act sucked? Blood sausages?)
The Beaver is an inspirational comedy in the sense that Patch Adams was a medical drama. Med schools, as we know, are turning away applicants left and right thanks to Patch. In other words, The Beaver is inspirational in the sense that lifelong failures of human beings everywhere could watch Mr. Holland’s Opus and feel that inner “whew”, when they realize that there is such a thing as “too little, too late” when it comes to dreams, and sometimes it’s better to bury your dream in a box somewhere in the middle of a desert when the alternative only means finally realizing how pathetic your dream was in the first place.
The problem with The Beaver is that Foster and her screenwriter failed to differentiate the concept of “suspension of disbelief” with the concept of “what kind of stupid shit is this?” It’s a guy with a puppet on his hand. All the time.
I want to know what the beaver says when the thought of the formerly unadulterated breasts of Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend make an appearance in his imagination and he decides to give in physically to these thoughts. Can the beaver talk at that moment? Does it talk with its mouth full? Or am I looking at this all wrong and does the beaver become afflicted with an acute case of hand envy? And why the fuck does the beaver have an English accent? We already knew Gibson could do Australian and Scottish, which are close enough, so how about learning something new, like how to operate a puppet without moving your mouth? De Niro would have done it.
Gibson even jogs with the beaver puppet. After the beaver gets all sweaty, I hope he at least washes it.
“Excuse me, but I’m looking for something nonabrasive that I could use to wash my beaver.”
“Douche, aisle four.”
To be fair, the very next scene in the preview after the jogging scene is a shower scene. Also known as the love scene. I guess this was to make sure nobody like me found anything about the preview hard to believe. Personally, I would have preferred Mel Gibson to try to talk to somebody through the puppet, and hear the person answer, “What’s that smell? Don’t you wash that thing? And what is that?” That’s what The Beaver needs: a There’s Something About Mary scene.
Movie previews always remind you about the Academy Awards the actors won or were nominated for. In this case, the goal is to keep you focused on the Braveheart stuff rather than the angry, drunk-driving, religious nutcase stuff. I don’t know about you, but when someone refers to “Academy Award Winner Mel Gibson”, I feel like someone’s telling me I ought to applaud Jeffrey Dahmer’s third-place finish in a middle school spelling bee. It’s great for a kid to know how to spell, but whether he writes that he murdered his fifteenth victim or merdered his fifteenf victum, the justification of credit is marginal. It’s like your future landlord selling you on an apartment with an awe-inspiring description of a spacious living room, which would accommodate your coffee table perfectly were it not for the unfortunate presence of one, large elephant.
This is the unfunny SNL skit blown up to 115 minutes longer than it should have been. It’s the MacGruber of psychotic puppeteer movies.
Clearly, I could write about this movie’s badness forever. Imagine my life’s work consisting of several hundred volumes’ worth of criticism of The Beaver. Call me fucking nuts, but I actually think this goal is not only doable, but worthy of the effort. The only qualification I would add is that after the first completed volume, I would probably find it tempting to watch the movie. This temptation could destroy the entire, noble effort. Not because the movie might be good, which is obviously impossible, but because I would be too tempted to focus on the specific details of the movie’s badness rather than the overall idea that someone thought this was a movie someone should make. I think you could probably find a way to correlate the inevitable downfall of the human race with the thought processes involved with the making of this movie. Neurons were actually firing while the script for The Beaver was getting rubber-stamped. This is a mind-boggling proposition.
I’m not sure the “Black List” should ever be worth talking about by intelligent human beings, given that these idiots declared The Beaver script the most promising unproduced script of 2008. Evidently, Steve Carell was initially slated to play Mel Gibson’s part. That actually might have been entertaining. For better or worse, Carell has the tendency to at least convey loud and clear that, “Hey, this thing I’m doing right now… this is supposed to be funny.” The stuff Mel Gibson does is often funny, but it’s not always supposed to be. I’ve liked the guy in some roles, but Conspiracy Theory and drunken rants to female police officers come to mind.
I can’t help but think that Mel Gibson had the gonads to make a movie that in his psychotic worldview is an allegory for his own life. All he needs is a little patience and understanding from the world for his psychotic tendencies, and he’ll come out of his shell and be able to share his joy with the world. (Didn’t notice the scene in which Gibson has a glass of booze in his left hand? I’m thinking at that point he wasn’t feeding the beaver.)
And now for the $100,000 question. Will the beaver ever come? I mean, come off? Will Mel Gibson (as you can tell, I prefer to think of this movie as being about Mel Gibson the actor, not some character he’s playing) be able to grow as a person from everything The Beaver has enabled him to do and learn, and will he be able to set aside the beaver at the right moment for the sake of his wife and family?
Well, at this point, I think all I can do is quote Anton Chekhov on the nature of drama:
“One must not put a loaded puppet on the stage if no one is thinking of removing it.”
Also, they show his right hand at the end of the the preview. Someone, please tell me that this movie preview is a hoax.