Bottom Line: Depression never looked so dumb!
“It’s a brain. Mom says yours got broken.” –Riley Thomas Stewart as Henry Black
Directed by: Jodie Foster
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson
Darkly bizarre, dull dramedy about Walter Black (Mel Gibson), a once-happy toy company executive who has plunged into a severe state of depression. One night, he finds a beaver hand puppet in a dumpster. From then on, he is always under an accent, constantly with the puppet on his hand, using it to communicate. He believes it will gradually help him overcome his situation.
There’s one scene in THE BEAVER, though less than two minutes in length, that perfectly represents the entire film. In this scene, we see Walter come home from work and immediately enter the restroom. He ties his necktie around the shower curtain rod, attempting to hang himself. It gets odder: the rod breaks off of the wall, and Walter’s tie is attaching him to it. Without thinking of undoing his tie, Walter drags himself (along with the curtain rod behind him) out to the balcony outside of his bedroom, where he plans to make another attempt at suicide. Like the rest of the movie, the scene is confusing, out of place, and we can only laugh at its stupidity.
Aside from being incredibly boring, THE BEAVER is an uneven motion picture. Though intended to perform as a look at one man’s dreadful state of depression, we often end up getting a completely unrelated view of that man’s son’s hassle over trying to write his girlfriend’s graduation speech. Also, the film flies by in a matter of 90 minutes (thank God), but that amount of time didn’t seem to be quite enough to propel it much further than the point at which it started. Not to mention, the ending is quite predictable.
THE BEAVER does not work well as a comedy, nor does it meet up to the sufficiency of a drama. The humor here is quite commonplace and along the lines of what we would expect for a movie about a disturbed family man (i.e. “Today at school, a bully threw me into a dumpster.” “What did your teacher do about it?” “She got me out of the dumpster.”), and if that’s your kind of humor, go right ahead with this one. THE BEAVER strives to be poignant, but can you really expect to be moved by a movie about a crazy guy who talks by using a puppet? Think about it and decide.