Mel Gibson's 'The Beaver:' Is it fish or fowl? [trailer video]
In at least one theater in Los Angeles on Friday night, the trailer for Mel Gibson’s “The Beaver” played in front of “Black Swan” -- which, given that the trailer for Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” also played in front of the film, makes for one seriously weird triple bill.
The late night-jokes write themselves for the new Gibson trailer, what with lines about the character played by the actor (of course the subject of allegations of domestic violence and racial slurs) needing to put "some psychological distance between himself and the negative aspects of his personality."
But the real issue for "The Beaver," a spring release about a depressed father who wears a puppet on his hand to overcome his problems, is: Does it work as a piece of movie marketing?
Anyone worrying that the whimsy would be washed out of Kyle Killen's script doesn't have much to fear -- the very idea of a puppet who sounds like Michael Caine and speaks on Mel Gibson's behalf takes care of the quirky quotient.
But otherwise the tone for the film, directed by Jodie Foster, seems askew. Is this an uplifting family drama? A midlife-crisis comedy? A bigger budget "Lars & the Real Girl?" For a movie that's always come with questions about its delicate tonal mix, the trailer doesn't exactly answer them.
Plus there is that pesky Gibson question. We suppose the campaign could play the Gibson card for sympathy, turning him into a patient instead of an aggressor ("the successful and loving family man he used to be has gone missing," as the trailer sets out). But it won't be easy: The jokes about a man looking to a beaver puppet to save his life -- let alone a man named Mel Gibson -- write themselves.
Watch and tell us what you think.
-- Steven Zeitchik