The latest from the comedic duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele is Keanu, an action-comedy film that somehow manages to mix intense gang violence with small, adorable baby animals. Though it’s certainly not going to be a blockbuster, it might have enough to tide viewers over until we truly get into the summer movie season.
Keanu’s premise is fairly absurd. After his girlfriend dumps him, Rell (Peele) discovers a small tabby kitten on his doorstep; he immediately names it Keanu and devotes all of his time to his new pet. Rell goes out with his friend Clarence (Key), a team-building/communications expert whose wife is out of town for the weekend, and comes back to find his apartment ransacked and Keanu missing.
That cat, by the way, is super cute. But not as cute as my cat.
My cat is cute as hell.
Anyway. In their search for the missing kitten, Rell and Clarence get involved with the 17th Street Blips (the people who washed out of the Bloods and Crips, apparently) and their leader, Cheddar (Method Man), who happens to have gained possession of Keanu. Cheddar tasks them with helping out his crew in distributing the latest drug, called Holy Shit, and promises the cat to them if they succeed. While Rell and Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish) sell drugs to Anna Faris (who has one of the more ridiculous cameos I’ve seen in a while) in the Hollywood Hills, Clarence is able to teach the other three members in the crew the value of communication and the soulful ways of George Michael.
Things escalate fairly quickly for everyone involved, ending in a massive car-chase/shootout with multiple gangs that starts at a Rock-Afire Explosion warehouse (about as creepy as any locale has been, ever) and ends at Clarence’s house.
The balance between the straight action and the humor is pretty solid throughout. That said, I don’t think every joke landed as well as it could have. The brand of humor here is the same you’ll remember from the Key & Peele television show, too; so if you didn’t enjoy the show, you’re definitely not going to find anything in the film funny, either. Personally, I found the show to be hit-or-miss and the film to be just as inconsistent.
The actors’ performances are all basically exactly what you’d expect from each of them. Peele’s character is a loser stoner who gains determination from his cat, while Key’s Clarence is the straight man – the yuppie suburban husband in the fish-out-of-water situation they put themselves into. There weren’t any surprises, and there weren’t any standouts. Everything was really par for the course on the acting front. The one part that really stuck with me was that they managed to actually get Keanu Reeves to voice the cat in a scene where Clarence is tripping balls. It was a nice touch.
That said, despite being really just on-par, it manages to be entertaining. It has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments from start to finish, and it’s definitely a worthwhile watch if you’re looking for a film to kill time this weekend before Captain America: Civil War comes out. While fans of Key & Peele will certainly find this more entertaining than casual viewers, it’s tough not to recommend it as at least a possibility for the next couple of weeks.
[easyreview title= "Review of Keanu" cat1title="Carrie's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.5" overall= false]