Worth the price of admission just for the adorable cat.
Keanu marks the feature film debut for comedy duo Key & Peele after their comedy central sketch show run ended . While the film almost feels like an extended sketch from said show, the chemistry between the two leads makes the absurd premise of the film work.
Keanu tells the story of one of the cutest cats ever put to screen, Keanu. After escaping the clutches of a drug lord, Keanu finds his way to a depressed Rell’s (Jordan Peele) house. Rell quickly forms a bond with the cat, and in turn happens upon new found optimism for life. Until one night where his house is broken into and Keanu is catnapped (I’m sorry) by the leader of a drug gang. Determined to get Keanu back, Rell enlists the help of his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) to infiltrate the gang, and get Keanu back.
I had a lot of fun with Keanu. While I felt that there were a few jokes that fell flat for me, more often than not Keanu had me laughing. The film mostly employs the same type of humor from Key & Peele, so chances are if you liked the show you’ll find enjoyment in the Keanu. Ethnic stereotyping was a big topic on their sketch show, and it finds its way into Keanu as well.
Many of the jokes from the film focus on Clarence and Rell trying their best to fake the gangster stereotype, as they themselves were just regular, middle class people. It’s not an original trope, but Keanu implements it very well and manages to make it fresh. Both Key and Peele are biracial, which helps give them an insider/outsider perspective on the issue. They were able to garner quite a few laughs from me. My favorite running joke in the film was Clarence trying to use his corporate team building skills to try and coach better communication between the gang members, as well as introduce them to the “OG” George Michael.
What I really loved about this film were the characters themselves. Clarence and Rell are just so likable as people, in no small part due to the charismatic chemistry between Key and Peele, and due to the writing itself. The characters of Clarence and Rell actually experience fully realized character arcs, and I feel that is rare to see in most mainstream comedy. They are fully realized as people, and that helped make me more attached to them and their plight.
I did have a few issues with the film. Like I mentioned earlier a few jokes fall flat, and as much as I loved seeing Keanu on screen, there were many times where his presence in the story didn’t quite make sense. Keanu would be brought along to these dangerous situations, without any real reason other than the need for him to be there in order to advance the plot. The film also feels a tad too long. Watching it I felt it was about to end multiple times, yet it would surprisingly continue.
These are mostly nitpicks however, and for the most part Keanu is a really solid first film outing for the geeky comedic duo of Key & Peele. If you liked their show than most likely you’ll like Keanu. If you aren’t a fan however, than you might like it for no other reason than to see the absolutely adorable kitten on screen. Overall, there is just a lot of fun to be had in Keanu. The film could have easily been a misfire, but due to a strong script and hilarious performances for the two leads, Keanu is a good time.