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Mel Gibson's 'The Beaver:' Is it fish or fowl? [trailer video]

December 3, 2010 |  9:45 pm

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



Comments () | Archives (23)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Mel Gibson is an awesome entertainer and that is all that we need to know about him. His personal life is not our business. He has too many friends and family that support him and I believe that he is not this horrible person that many are trying to say he is. He is great at directing and acting and he has the love and support of his ex-wife and children. That should say enough. He also has the support of many fans who believe in him. There are too many problems in the world and here people are all concern about Mel's life. Come on already. Get over it. Mel Rocks!

I think I will give this movie a chance, if I turned to Hollywood or the news for morality (which I don't) I guess I would have to find sex tapes acceptable way to break into the headlines or if I wanted to break into acting I would have to change my name, my history, and lie about my credientials. In the do anything for attention hollywood, the gossip written with or without verification of a story. I hate that a person with such talent is in so much emotional pain, that's what I heard in the Mel tapes, pain, hurt and anger.


I watched the trailer and I think that it’s actually ok.

It’s not an oscar winner but as if ALL the movies out were…please!

And I think that the critics are really mean and is mixing Mel’s personal life with his professional capacity as an actor.

There is really no mercy is this bizz it’s really sad.

Mel Gibson gave us some really great performance throughout is career and now he is treated like garbage. I will go watch the movie and so will a looooooooooot of people.

As to "categorize the movie" what are you a drone?! It's a movie and that is that, go watch it, enjoy, eat some pop corn and go home.

Kudos to Jodie for the cast :)

I liked the trailer and I want to see this movie. I like unusual movies that don't fit into any particular category - they are more likely to be interesting. And as for Mel Gibson's private life - the man has not been charged with anything yet. He and Jodie Foster are wonderful actors, and I look forward to seeing their future projects too.

I think the trailer looks great. I am looking forward to seeing the movie!

The Beaver = The Turkey. Fareel, Fur-real.

Oh... Kay! Jodie Foster grabs her hubbie Mel, and says she wants Him back, not that...Beaver. The sight of Mel Gibson with a puppet on his hand being beseached by Jodie Foster to get him back because she needs him but a....Beaver getting in the way, I mean- You couldn't have convinced them to go for it if it was your own idea for a laugher. But, fortunately- they did all by themselves.

Oh yeah, and that classic cliche male narrarator voice one hears over the trailer screams "parody" from the start.

In summary, is the movie some sort of unintentional, prescient biography of Mel? Or a strange, experimental verite piece?

I was at the Landmark last night when the trailer played before Black Swan. The audience laughed all the way through it. An uncomfortable laugh.

I think this is intriguing and I look forward to seeing this film.

Steven, you really have to stop sticking needles into Gibson at every opportunity, ok? It just makes you look snide and someone with a personal axe to grind.

As far as the Grigorieva thing, she doesn't look credible at all anymore. There is no physical evidence to substantiate her claims. Perhaps Gibson really was protecting his daughter. Let the courts decide what really happened. Time to move on.

Nice trailer, better then expected. I will go see it when it comes out.

I don't get the point here. I have never mixed a Polanski movie with child sodomizing. I bet the writer here hasn't either. So why continue to take a slanted view of Gibson's life and use personal views of a man to question a movie. 'Tone seems askew'? That statement and this article seems rather askew to me.

Since when have people sought clarity in a film trailer? What is it you want? The ending? That a story has been created of this trailer showing with Black Swan and Tree of Life proves how racist and hateful your own thinking is. It's a stretch, tenuous at best, don't you think?

No, Mel does not rock. He's a racist masoginistic jerk. I'll admit the trailer looks really good. I'll skip it because Mel's in it though. Might catch it on cable.

When it comes to celebrity, especially these days, it's not always easy to separate artist from personal life issues, or personal beliefs, but for the sake of art, it's important to try to keep the other stuff at a distance and just see the art on its merits. To that end, I think the trailer shows us a little more than we want to see (a taste, a tease is so much better), but nonetheless, it looks great! Finally, something about humans and not tech. Can't wait to see it.

Why would Mel Gibson want to do a movie about Justin Bieber?

Love Mel Gibson. Nobody's perfect and his personal life is not our business. As a loyal film, I will always watch every Mel Gibson movie.

Wow. From some of the hate I'm seeing here, some of you mofo's must walk on water.

Delightful. Can't wait to see it. We love you Mel !

Love Mr. Gibson and all his movies. Hope he gets clear of "stupid head" she is just a money grubber using the babe as a tool to get his money instead of getting a job. Yuck to her.

From where I'm sitting, it looks like fun - but I'm not on any meds for depression, so maybe I'm biased.

umm yeah.. this looks cheezy as hell and awful. jodie foster hamming it up to the max. and everytime i see mel all i see is a grumpy old racist bigot.

what a crap film.

no wait. make that mega crap.

If you tried to describe this movie in words to someone, you would both crack up laughing. I wonder how this project got pitched: "No, really, it's about a guy who gets depressed and uses a beaver puppet to talk. It stars Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster."

Anyway, it looks better than its premise.

Anything with Jodie Foster in it is bound to elevate the quality.

I think this movie will be a "Jew-el" . :D

Sure, he's let the worst aspects of his personal life (and persona) come to the fore and potentially ruin his professional life, but the man is a talent to reckoned with. If Robert Downey, Jr., and Charlie Sheen, and Woody Allen and Roman Polanski can still be working in this God-forsaken town (albeit the latter two from France), then by all means Mel Gibson still has a bit of trust and talent capital left in the ole reservoir to survive a few more gaffes.

I'm looking forward to seeing The Beave! Good and ya Jodie Foster for stickin' with whom ya brung to the dance ... that's good karma, kid. Hopefully he can earn your trust and repay the kindness you're showing him by shaping up and showing up a better version of himself for the next several decades!


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