The comic insanity and absurdity of Hundreds of Beavers suggests that Mike Cheslik and Ryland Brickson Cole Tews, who last collaborated together on Lake Michigan Monster, are brimming with glee when making movies. With Cheslik directing, Tews starring, and both taking on writing duties, Hundreds of Beavers is a bonafide bonanza of hilarity that perfectly displays the comedic stylings of this trailblazing duo.
Hundreds of Beavers is reminiscent of The Revenant’s survival tale only, this time, obeying the rules of Space Jam’s Looney Tune Land and in the style of a classic silent movie. Tews plays Jean Kayak, a meatheaded cider salesman whose business is destroyed by mischievous beavers and terrible blizzard conditions. Kayak goes from having everything to having nothing and – quickly dawning on him – he has to figure out how to live in the wilderness. Through a series of trial-and-error misadventures, he learns how to hunt and gather, and figures out how these skills help build woodland currency with a nearby fur merchant (Doug Mancheski) and his playfully promiscuous daughter (Olivia Graves). Even a Santa-inspired master trapper (Wes Tank) takes Jean under his wing.
Proving that a movie can literally have a laugh-per-minute, this nearly two-hour live-action cartoon explodes with a variety of humour; from long build-ups resulting in extremely clever payoffs to skilled slapstick pratfalls to (for lack of better words ) “repetitive dumb guy humour”. This active movie also does a great job with world-building, adapting action-adventure video game aesthetics when Jean is mapping out his new surroundings.
Since Hundreds of Beavers is always setting the bar higher and higher, the audience is always interested in what will happen next; achieving a specific brand of corniness that fits the physical humour while also benefiting the translation of cartoonish physics. The movie does push its luck in the third act by throwing Jean inside the belly of the beast as he faces off against the titular beavers in their secret headquarters. Although it would also be a shame if these action sequences were cut in any way considering how well the fervent action-comedy is mixed with imaginative special effects. Hundreds of Beavers is an incredible technical feat, showcasing the hard work of a dedicated post-production crew as they push their movie to a multifaceted level.
Hundreds of Beavers exudes effort and gut-busting originality. What more do you want? That’s all, folks!
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie