There may be a movie that could save Mel Gibson’s career, but this ain’t it. Never mind the premise. The Beaver is flawed from top to bottom because there isn’t a single scene you believe. Every metaphor in the script is leaden; every possibility of black humour is ignored. The family at the centre are a bad writer’s idea of a family. And no homily is rejected as being too corny or undeserved. Frankly, I wanted to flog screenwriter Kyle Killen with that damn glove-puppet. His writing has about as much truth as an anti-aging commercial. Make no mistake: this is a shallow precocious screenplay. It’s all hat and no cattle, as the saying goes. Like a bad ventriloquist, all you can hear is a lack of talent talking at you.
God loves Mel Gibson. And how could He not? Mel’s entire career is about abasing himself; metaphorically (and, one infamous night in Malibu, literally) rending his shirt and crying: “What are you looking at, sugar tits?” Some people might walk around as if they were carrying a cross; Mel Gibson made The Passion of the Christ. Even when he was drunk and leering at Malibu police officers, there was a sense he was shaming himself for us. But God looks kindly on a guilty conscience. Lethal Weapon, Braveheart, What Women Want… all the superfluous torture Mel’s put himself through. He’s at it again in Edge of Darkness. (Note to Mel: God knows you’ve sinned.)