Their first major film together as leads on the big screen, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key take a ridiculous idea and somehow manage to make a moderately entertaining movie out of it. Directed by Peter Atencio, Keanu is the type of movie made for those who love cats, sketch comedy, and the two leads. Everyone else will be hovering on the fence waiting for a recommendation to see the film or not.
While suffering from some severe breakup depression, Rell’s (Jordan Peele) world turns upside down when a stray kitten shows up on his stoop, giving him inspiration and a reason to live again. While out one night with his straight-laced best friend Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key), Rell’s home is ransacked and the two discover that Keanu has been catnapped. When the two discover that a gangster named Cheddar (Method Man) now covets the kitten, Rell and Clarence have to channel their inner thug life, posing as notorious drug dealers in order to fit in and get Keanu back.
I’ll state this up front: I’m not the biggest Key & Peele fan. I think they have a lot of brilliant ideas on their show but I don’t think many of their skits are funny. That being said, I found Keanu to be pretty solid for a dumb action comedy. There are plenty of jokes that fall flat and the characters feel likes ones I’ve seen them play any times before, but then there are moments of pure greatness sprinkled throughout that make watching the movie worthwhile. In fact there are probably three times during the film where my belly was bursting with laughter and I nearly started to tear because I was laughing so hard.
There are a bunch of clever bits in Keanu, one of my favorites being the kitten calendar that Rell makes. He turns Keanu into famous movie characters and photos him into various scenes like Jack Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny!” moment in The Shining, just to give an example. Also, it’s fun to watch the super straight Clarence let down his hair, turning from a proper, respectful man that some may claim is too white, to a back flipping gangster named Shark Tank.
Over the course of this 100 minute long movie, there are four or five moments that really stand out while the rest we can essentially shrug off. The two don’t have witty or comical banter that helps kill time with laughs the way you would get from watching Kevin Hart and, really, anyone else. These moments along with anything that tries to move the plot forward significantly don’t really do much from an audience perspective. You end up waiting patiently for the next gut busting laugh, whenever it may come. Also, there’s a whole subplot with Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish) at the end that really annoyed me, especially with the reaction everyone had with it. It was a pathetic copout to alter the fate of the film.
Overall, Keanu wasn’t as funny as I was hoping for but I also didn’t expect to nearly cry from laughter multiple times. It’s the kind of film that is all or nothing with its humor. When it hits its mark it’s a knockout but when it misses it unfortunately misses badly. The story is light and very easy to follow, the acting is fine and the production value is what you’d expect from a cheaper action comedy. Suffice to say, Keanu is decent movie that’s perfect for a Friday night or if you want a mindless way to kill time.
The Blu-ray doesn’t come with much but here’s the list of the additional features on the disc
- Keanu: My First Movie – a fake conversation with the little star of the film
- Deleted Scenes – There are eight deleted scenes, one of which I’m kind of annoyed didn’t make it into the film. It would have turned a stereotypical moment into a much funnier one (it’s the “I don’t think God Works like that” deleted scene).
- Gag Reel – A pretty funny reel of gags and goofs that prove to generally be funnier than a lot of the film.
The video and audio quality for the film is solid on the Blu-ray and a good technical buy if you plan on acquiring the film yourself.