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MOVIE REVIEW – “The Beaver”

First, let me start by saying I’m not going to make any “beaver = vagina” jokes. It isn’t that they are immature or not funny. It is because they have all already been used and now they are cliched and that sucks. Whatever. Thanks a lot, world.

“The Beaver” is an interesting film. For one, it is Jodie Foster’s first film she has directed in 16 years. Two, it stars Mel Gibson, who has been chastised and pretty much publicly shunned since audio recordings of his fights with his former girlfriend leaked to the public (if you haven’t somehow heard these, let me sum it up for you: Gibson has a bad temper and says mean things in loud voices.) And the screenplay is a blacklisted screenplay from a few years ago written by first-time film writer, Kyle Killen.

Also, it is just a weird story. Gibson plays Walter Black, a troubled and depressed husband who has nothing going for him. His family hates him, he is terrible at his job, and he just wants to die. He has no idea how he got to this place, and does not care. So, he is forced to move out of his home.

While throwing some of his items away, he comes across a beaver hand puppet in a dumpster. He picks it up, goes to a hotel, gets super drunk, wakes up the next morning with the beaver on his hand and it is talking to him in an amazingly funny cockney British accent. The Beaver (I will capitalize that now because it is a physical character. So there you go, grammer nazis. Fucked up your complaints about the lacks of beaver capitalization from before!) is telling Walter what to do, how to get better. And for some reason, Walter listens.

From here, Walter gets back in his family’s life in a big way (and rather quickly, too. It is kind of odd how this happens in about a 12 hour span.) His wife, played by Foster, is happy and his younger son loves The Beaver (damn you world! That would have been a good joke, there.) But his older son, Porter (Anton Yelchin) is not happy. He already hated his father and this makes him hate him more.

Porter has his own issues, though. He doesn’t want to be like his father, going as far as writing down each similarity and trying to avoid them. He is the smart kid at school, writing papers for people and getting money for it. One day, he is approached by the Valedictorian, Norah (Jennifer Lawrence), who needs him to write her Valedictorian speech (this is kind of a stretch here, but I guess if I can accept a man talking through a puppet, then I’ll accept this.) Porter likes the girl and wants to do a good job for her, but being like his father, messes it up along the way.

“The Beaver” is definitely a film you should see. It is funny and interesting, but ultimately, way more dramatic than I thought it would be. I remember reading about the screenplay years ago, reading that it was a dark comedy. This is more like a drama with some funny parts sprinkled in. Foster took the film a different direction for some reason. I like the results, but rarely does a film come along that I wish had two versions. This one, and the dark comedy version. If she had gone down the comedy path, I think this film would stick out amongst the summer pile of films way more than it does. As it is, the film isn’t being seen, and that is still sad.

I’m trying to think of a good joke it end this on, but all I keep coming up with are lame beaver jokes. I’m really upset by this.