Space Ramblings

The Mel Gibson Comeback

Comeback? Not so much. The Beaver was a smart way to position a Gibson comeback. Have him play a nutjob who learns to reconnect with his family. A redemption story for the character fitting in with the redemption of the actor. The whole idea plays on the gullibility of audiences who have trouble telling apart the actor and the character. The problem. An indie family drama starring a guy who’s alienated women just a little. Women who aren’t Jodie Foster or Whoopi Goldberg.

The Beaver didn’t flame out completely in its opening. A four grand per theater average isn’t bad. But Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams had a seven grand per theater average, and it’s just Herzog wandering around a cave with a flashlight on his head. Curiosity alone should have brought in more people.

But Gibson has another problem in that department. His crown of crazy celebrity redemption has been completely stolen by Charlie Sheen. It’s hard to get anyone to pay attention to Gibson’s attempted comeback, when Sheen is around. Foster and the producers were counting on getting people interested in Gibson. But now he’s been eclipsed by Sheen. And for all his demented behavior, Sheen is actually more likable than Gibson. Sheen and Gibson are both substance abusers with huge egos, but Sheen has never pretended to be a saint. And even his domestic violence incidents come without the pure unfiltered ugliness of the Gibson tapes.

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