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Unique and unforgettable, “Hundreds of Beavers” is a riotous good time — even if you’re not in the film’s target audience.

Hundreds of Beavers

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Imagine Wile E. Coyote as a perfect White Boy Winter specimen and the Road Runner as a rotating and ridiculous carousel of beavers, wolves, skunks, and woodpeckers. That vignette in your head? Yeah, that’s Hundreds of Beavers.

If this hasn’t caught your attention, let’s see if I can lure you in. Hmmmm….what bait are you partial to? What about well-executed and less common storytelling techniques?

As others talk about this film, you’ll hear mentions of Buster Keaton very appropriately bubble up. Writer-director Mike Cheslik and our lead and co-writer, Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, expertly wield gesture and pantomime and demonstrate the power of physical humor.

There’s a comment in that YouTube video at the link I provided that discusses the use of repetition: “Every single fall is an opportunity for creativity.”

Cheslik and Tews don’t stop at falls. They build on this philosophy and apply it to the other activities that become commonplace in this world: Trapping, killing, and gutting a variety of wildlife and fish; The Merchant’s spit-to-spitoon fails; and calling the woodpecker, to name a few.

Each iteration is different, but the results consistently hit the mark in a way that would make The Merchant envious.

If you’re still not intrigued, let’s talk about the film’s unique visual fingerprint.

Hundreds of Beavers has quite a distinct look and feel that sets it apart in the animation and live-action mash-up category.

My brand of neurodiversity observes patterns and makes very quick linkages where I see whispers and nods between artists. While the approach has influences, the visuals feel both fresh and refreshing.

Wait, did I just use refreshing to describe a film that dedicates a significant amount of attention to detailing the gutting of oversized stuffed beavers and the utility of feces? Why, yes, yes, I did.

To lean on one of my favorite Green Day songs to help describe my position, this one’s a walking contradiction. Crass content delivered delightfully.

Have you wandered into my trap yet?

No? Ok, I see you’re not into the technical and cerebral stuff. How about unfiltered Bro humor?

There is that great Maya Angelou quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” The opening sequence includes Jean Kayak doing his best frontier frat boy impression, binge drinking, and playing beer pong. Cheslik and Tews want you to know exactly what you’re getting into off the hop.

As someone who’s not their target audience, I appreciated this. Because there’s a fine line between what I’ll call Bro (belly laughs) and Bruh (facepalms) humor.

It allowed me to settle into the chaos appropriately, ready to welcome busty snow bunnies, sled dogs playing poker, a pole dancing furrier, snot icicle daggers, sufficient crotch humor, and what I can only describe as a Royal Rumble beaver brawl.

Without a doubt, my abs ached far more than my forehead.

While overall, my verdict is, “Hell yeah, this shit is funny,” before I close, I must flag two flaws.

First, it ran long for me. After an hour, the repetition lost its novelty and effectiveness and started to feel tiresome. Even amid the creativity, I ached for the resolution and climax. There were times I thought this would be a great flick to have on in the background during pregaming on a guys’ night out. You can easily phase in and out and quickly pick up where you left off.

Second was the outdated on-screen representation of The Indian Fur Trapper (Luis Rico).

It’s possible this character is another nod to the Buster Keaton era (see: The Paleface (1922)) and that Cheslik and Tews checked this with a few of their relations before committing to it. However, without appreciating that film history context – which I am graciously suggesting without confirmation — and before settler North Americans (as a collective) are further along in their Reconciliation journey, The Indian Fur Trapper character feels uncomfortable and unnecessary.

I’m sure there could have been other ways to incorporate the horse gags, which did make me laugh. Otherwise, elements like the pipe tomahawk are reduced to a prop, which is unfortunate.

Even with those notes, it has been a long time since I laughed that hard at a film – any film, let alone a silent one.

I absolutely attribute this to Cheslik and Tews’s capable collaborative effort. They ping-pong and build upon each other’s strengths easily. I mean, how else do you reach a plot pinnacle where beaver scientists, astronauts, and lawyers seem completely plausible? Well done.

So well done that I’m now hoping I’ll see some of you show up on my doorstep this Halloween dressed like this. A gal can dream (and continue laughing at this content days after viewing).

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 4
Hundreds of Beavers is now available in select theaters nationwide and will be available to stream online sometime in April. Stay tuned, and don’t miss this one!

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