Depressed CEO Walter Black (Mel Gibson) finds solace in a glove puppet with hope of rehabilitating his family life, but as it begins to fit too snugly he descends into a bizarre psychological lifestyle in this comedy drama, co-starring and directed by Jodie Foster.
The surreal, alternative personality developing from Black as he becomes “The Beaver” requires some convincing acting from Gibson. He shows quality as his character must switch between personalities instantaneously. As the film progresses The Beaver engages full control of its puppeteer, reflecting Gibson’s necessity to act and soon enough he provides nothing more than a voice for the stuffed animal.
Anton Yelchin plays intelligent, but troubled son Porter who forms a friendship with equally troubled High School valedictorian Norah (Jennifer Lawrence). A touching sub narrative develops between the pair as they deal with their troubles, caused and unaided by their dysfunctional parents. The pair provide the films highlights and comfortably improve upon their senior counterparts, but are not rewarded with enough screentime. Gibson and Foster are disappointing to say the least.
Despite sounding like some ridiculous Adam Sandler comedy, the humour is dark and packs in a few big laughs. Unfortunately the film loses track of its narrative and is ultimately unsatisfying in the handling of its issues. Jodie Foster deserves some credit for bravely directing this whacky drama, but it’s been fifteen years since her last directing gig and it shows.