Capsule reviews: 'Thor,' 'Something Borrowed'

Associated Press
In this film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment, actors Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson are shown during the filming of "The Beaver."  (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Ken Regan)
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In this film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment, actors Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson are …

Mel Gibson's interpersonal flaws have all but ruined his career. Now with this dark comic drama, Gibson delivers a career performance that salvages a flawed film. Directed by longtime pal Jodie Foster, who also co-stars, the film was shot in between Gibson's 2006 anti-Semitic rant during a drunken-driving arrest and his ugly breakup from ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Inevitably, because of the spectacle of Gibson's private life, it will be difficult for viewers to separate the real person from the fictional character, a suicidal man struggling with depression and inner demons. Gibson seems to be exploring his own dark emotional recesses as his character at first comically, later savagely, works through his issues via an alter-ego, a beaver puppet he wears on his hand. The performance makes the film generally work despite a story that veers from an absorbing family dynamic into a pointless media circus as the beaver becomes a national celebrity. Gibson creates a rich, engrossing portrait of a man in deep distress, with great heart and humor where appropriate, and the rest of the time with the disturbing conviction of someone who's been there himself. Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence co-star. PG-13 for mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference. 91 minutes. Three stars out of four.

— David Germain, AP Movie Writer

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"Jumping the Broom" — This is what it might look like if Nancy Meyers directed a Tyler Perry movie. It's got all the glossy production values of a Meyers film like "Something's Gotta Give" or "It's Complicated": expensive clothes and expansive houses in the elegantly upscale setting of Martha's Vineyard. And the ensemble cast, featuring Paula Patton, Laz Alonso and Meagan Good, offers plenty of eye candy. But it also has all the lowbrow humor and high melodrama of a Perry movie, the broad characters and earnest religious fervor, and the same jarring tonal shifts between those two extremes. The first feature from director Salim Akil, a veteran of the TV series "Girlfriends," presents the culture clashes that occur between two black families — one old-moneyed, the other blue-collared — when they're about to be united through marriage. Patton plays Sabrina Watson, a New York corporate lawyer who's enjoyed a privileged upbringing. She meets cute with a Wall Street up-and-comer, Alonso's Jason Taylor, when she hits him with her car. Instantly, they're smitten and in no time, they're engaged. But plot contrivances keep their respective families from meeting until the day before the wedding. Angela Bassett as Sabrina's cultured mother and Loretta Devine as Alonso's mom, a Brooklyn postal worker, are two formidable actresses who deserve stronger material. PG-13 for some sexual content. Running time: 108 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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"Something Borrowed" — This romantic drama poses the question: What happens when you realize you're in love with your best friend's fiance? But the characters are either so ill-defined or unlikable, it's hard to care whether they get out of this tricky situation with their emotions and relationships intact. And that's odd, and unfortunate, because "Something Borrowed" stars the ordinarily adorable Ginnifer Goodwin as a New York attorney who finds herself in that predicament. Directed by Luke Greenfield ("The Girl Next Door") and based on the novel by Emily Giffin, "Something Borrowed" introduces us to Goodwin's character, Rachel, on the night of her 30th birthday. She's quietly freaking out about the passage of time because she's still hopelessly single, the clichéd trademark of so many chick-lit heroines. Meanwhile, her closest pal since childhood, the blonde party girl Darcy (Kate Hudson), is about to marry Dex (Colin Egglesfield), Rachel's good friend from law school. Rachel introduced the two of them six years ago and encouraged them to get together, even though she was secretly in love with Dex. But after a few drinks at her surprise party, she and Dex end up sleeping together — and that inspires them to revisit feelings they'd both suppressed. PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue, and some drug material. Running time: 113 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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"Thor" — The Norse gods are off to a decent, though not divine, start in this latest movie in Marvel Comics' big-screen expansion of its superhero pantheon. Australian actor Chris Hemsworth plays the god of thunder, cast out by his father (Anthony Hopkins) and forced to learn some humility down on Earth. Director Kenneth Branagh draws on his Shakespearean roots to fill the tale with loads of palatial pride, envy, rivalry and resentment that drive the action. The human part of the equation often is where the film comes up short, as in the puny humans of whom Thor supposedly becomes so fond. Fresh off her Academy Award win for "Black Swan," Natalie Portman as Thor's mortal love interest is a surprisingly insubstantial presence. Thor is the god who fell to Earth, but why he wants to stay among these little Earthlings never feels genuine, given the far cooler place he calls home. The action is a bit muddled and the story sometimes is unfocused, but Hemsworth has true star power, a regal presence that helps keep the disparate elements stitched together. With Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings and Clark Gregg. PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence. 113 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

— David Germain, AP Movie Writer

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