MEL GIBSON'S CAREER is over. First there was that creepy Jesus movie, then the "Sugartits/I hate Jews" episode, and then the crazy, threatening messages on an ex-girlfriend's voicemail? Three strikes, buddy.

The amazing thing, though, is how little that glaring fact matters when it comes to The Beaver. Even if Tom Hanks were its lead, this thing would still be as misguided and bizarre a film to hobble into multiplexes as any in recent memory. It demands to be mocked.

Most of the blame belongs to director and costar Jodie Foster, who tries to squeeze poignancy from every frame of story that's determined to be batshit. We are told, again and again—in voiceover, by a beaver—that this is the story of sad, sad Walter Black. Walter (Gibson) is so sad that he's going to kill himself. But in his suicidal stupor, Walter finds a beaver puppet in a liquor store Dumpster, pulls a TV on his head, and wakes up with a split personality... that's embodied via the beaver.

But here's where the train really goes off the rails: Walter begins speaking to his coworkers and his family through the beaver on his hand—in an Australian accent, no less—and everyone responds with a sort of bemused skepticism. Sure, this is a little strange, they think, but let's hear what that beaver has to say! Soon, the eyes of the son Walter could never connect with are twinkling as daddy kisses his face with a dirty Dumpster puppet. Soon, Jodie Foster is screaming out during sex while Walter presses a panting beaver against the frosted shower glass. Hallelujah, Walter's born again!

And here's where that train kills everyone onboard: In the last reel, The Beaver turns into a horror movie as Walter tries to break free of the beaver's controlling influence, culminating in the greatest fight scene ever filmed between man and puppet. While Walter might have a chance for cinematic redemption (I guess?), Gibson won't be so lucky.