The movie should be chewing logs of wild comedy, but director Jody Foster prefers to paddle in the pond of earnest family drama. Haggard, driven Mel Gibson is a depressed toy executive whose saving alter-ego is the fuzzy hand-puppet of a beaver. Through it he is able to speak again, but why in gruff Cockney? What is his crisis? Where is his catharsis? Really, who cares? This may be Gibson’s cry for release from his trashed image and self-smashed career, maybe even oblique penance for The Passion of the Christ. Foster plays Mel’s wife as a utility comfort station. Credible teens are Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence. There is the weird fascination of something terminally misguided and too-safely brave. 2011.

2.0 stars

— David Elliott

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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