Film #280: THE BEAVER
1.5 out of 5 stars
Let me get this out on Front Street… I absolutely hated this film. HATED it. Ok, now that said… THE BEAVER took a lot of flack when it came out and a lot of people pinned its box office failure on Mel Gibson and his lack of self-control when it came to his inebriated home life. Well, I’m happy to say that that is the LEAST of this film’s problems. Jodie Foster directs well, the acting is all of a journeyman quality, and the look of the film is perfectly competent. So why does it suck so bad? Well, it’s the script… full stop. This fiasco ham-fistedly uses mental illness and clinical depression as a cute plot device. Y’know… because that’s so hilarious. The film thinks that by throwing some AMELIE-esque accordion music over scenes of someone with a real problem, it will make it ironic or humorous. It depicts a family in real crisis as “off kilter” and “kooky.” And then, when the going gets dark, the film’s characters take moral and emotional 180s for no other reason than to move the plot along. I found this film insulting, badly plotted, and so infuriating that I wanted to give it as few stars as possible. However, it cannot be denied that the film is well-made (and it gets a star just for that) and Foster does her level best to present an appealing film. Why a talent filmmaker like her would choose such a shit-box of a project is anyone’s guess. As weird as it sounds, I think it’s just not fair to blame Mel and his troubles for making this flick as big of a mess as it is. But let’s be clear… avoid this shit like the plague.