For those of you who remember Leslie Nielson and "that gag" in The Naked Gun, this is most definitely not that kind of movie. You may find yourself being stuffed, but not in that way...
If any actor is lucky (or not dependant on the circumstances), they may get the chance to play a role that seems destined for only them to play. Now it would seem that Gibson gets his chance, but it's not the socially acceptable role that Clooney had in Up In The Air.
Here, the once-guaranteed-box-office-cert, plays a man at the end of his tether and seemingly unable to get back on his feet no matter what he tries until the introduction of a puppet that puts a buffer between him and the rest of the world. The film itself may be that buffer as it brings back Gibson the actor rather than Gibson the tabloid head-liner.
Foster, who both stars and directs, takes a more serious approach on the subject matter than the trailer would imply upon viewing. What looks like, and indeed feels like in it's first half, as a light-hearted man's re-discovery and love story, takes you by the hand, leads you to a comedy chair, then pulls it away from you just as you try to sit in it.
You see, Foster never moves away from the fact that Gibson's character suffers from depression and lets the seriousness of that fact dictate the second half of the movie. The music, along with the absurdity of the situation - there's a threesome involving him, her and the puppet for instance - feels like something that would have come from the mind of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It has a distinctly European quirky feel to it, only to sucker punch you then with an awkward shouldn't-be-laughing reality check.
Brave, and note-worthy, this could have been a vehicle for the likes of Jim Carrey back in the early 90's with slapstick aplenty, but here it's an interesting, if slightly melancholy, movie that reminds you of how good both stars, whether in the goods books or bad, are confidently capable in their day jobs.
UK release date: 17.06.11