Before The Beaver — and all the complicated controversy that came with it — Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster served up a rottin’ tootin’ good time with Maverick (1994), a smart and more than a little flip variation on the old Western television series. Gibson is Bret Maverick, a charming grifter who needs some cash to enter a big poker tournament, a pursuit that gets him involved with fellow con artist and professional thief Annabelle (Foster) and the savvy Marshal Zane Cooper (original Maverick star James Garner). Director Richard Donner attacks this irresistible silliness with an energetic glee — and more than a few in-jokes (including at least one self-congratulatory nod to Donner and Gibson’s Lethal Weapon franchise). Maverick is a good time, nothing more — but it’s more than enough.
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