KEANU

Directed by:- Peter Atencio

Produced by: – Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Peter Principato, Paul Young, Joel Zadak

Starring: –  Jordan Peele , Keegan-Michael Key , Method Man , Tiffany Hadsish , Luis Guzman, Nia Long , Will Forte, Jason Mitchell , Anna Faris
Runtime :-  100 minutes (1 hr 40mins)
 
 
Kitten, Please.
 
The comedy duo, Keegan–Michael Key and Jordan Peele has been gaining notoriety from Comedy Central’s defunct sketch show Key and Peele.  To the uninitiated, each episode of the show contains pre-taped sketches starring the two actors. The sketches tend to question societal topics ranging from ethnic stereotypes to race relations and it also takes jabs at American popular culture.  The show has been a critical darling and it has even managed to bag itself a Peabody award along with nominations that include the Writers Guild award, NAACP image awards and several prime time Emmys.
 
With the shows success, it was only a matter of time before the comedic duo made a transition to the big screen. Peter Atencio who is also known for directing the show’s sketches also returns to help the dynamic duo in their cinematic debut.
 
 
The eponymous Keanu is too adorable.

The eponymous Keanu is too adorable.

The plot follows recently dumped slacker, Rell (Jordan Peele) who finds some comfort and purpose in his life when a cute kitten winds up on his doorstep after it escapes from a shootout at a drug facility. He names the feline Keanu and gets attached to the kitten (who wouldn’t its adorable). After a heartless thief steals the cat, Rell recruits his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key), a family man with an identity issue to help him retrieve it.
 
They soon learn that a thug named Cheddar (Method Man) has the Kitten, and he mistakes them for notorious assassins known as the ‘Allen Town Boys’ (who are also portrayed by the duo).  Cheddar agrees to give Keanu back if the two men agree to work for him. Armed with guns and a gangster attitude, it doesn’t take long for our clueless heroes to land in big trouble. Can Key & Peele successfully bring their form from their short –form comedy and keep us laughing for a hundred minutes compared to their seven minute long sketches? Lets start with the positives.
 
 
Key & Peele shine as a comedic duo.

Key & Peele shine as a comedic duo.

PROS
 
  •  I am not a huge fan of cats but the eponymous Kitten, Keanu is so adorable and lights up every scene he appears in. For me, the cuteness overload went over nine thousand in the scene where Rell dresses Keanu up in several costumes spoofing popular movies like The Matrix, Mad Max: Fury Road, Bad Boys II, Scarface and The Shining to name a few.
  •  Key and Peele are without a doubt the best part of the movie. They once again show us why they work as a comedy team.  They have great chemistry and bounce off each other extremely well.
  • The film hilariously skewers stereotypes of African-America Crime movies as well as action flicks as it acts as a light hearted parody of L.A gang movies like New Jack City and Boyz n the Hood.
  •  I really enjoyed Method Man ‘s (How High) character, Cheddar and Tiffany Haddish’s (The Carmichael show) character Hi-C a tough, streetwise sexy gangbanger with attitude.
  •  Keegan Michael-Key’s character, Clarence is a personally highlight of mine.  Its hilarious seeing a nerdy middle-class black man, trying to act urban in an attempt to gain some sort of acceptance from his wife who doesn’t think he’s tough enough for her and it’s a clever way of digging into Hollywood’s one-dimensional take on African American masculinity.
Tectonic & Shark-Tank are on a mission !!

Tectonic & Shark-Tank are on a mission !!

 
CONS
 
  • The movie is very repetitive as it stretches out two or three jokes until the end. The recurring joke of Clarence’s love for George Michael and the fact that Rell and Clarence try to convince everyone that they are hardcore gangsters are initially funny but it wears out after the 30-minute mark. A part of me feels that some these jokes would have worked better as a classic key & Peele sketch which as a result damages the experience.
  •  The movie feels a bit uneven. It bills itself as an action comedy but it really doesn’t blend the two elements very well. When the action- sequences commence, the comedy takes a back seat. The only sequence in the film that manages to blend these elements well is the shoot out in the beginning. 
  •  We don’t see enough of Keanu, which is a bummer as the kitten is cute and it’s a bit sad that he is relegated to the status of a McGuffin just to provide context for the films ridiculous plot.
  • Even though Key and Peele as a duo, Peele character Rell isn’t as layered as Key’s character, Clarence. Other than the fact he really wants Keanu back there isn’t much too the character and the romantic tensions between him and Cheddar’s second-in-command Hi-C is a bit forced and drags on. The twist with her character near the end doesn’t exactly help matters.
  • The supporting characters are not fleshed out enough to help the movie. This issue is prevalent with the female stars. Clarence relationship with his wife, Hannah (Nia Long) isn’t explored enough and ultimately becomes wasted as more scenes involving these two would have created more comedic opportunities.  A cameo by Anna Faris, playing a drugged –up parody of herself, overstays its welcome and loses its impact.
  • If you are not fan of Key and Peele or don’t appreciate their comedy, this movie is not going to change your opinion of them.

 

Keanu lights up every scene he appears in.

Keanu lights up every scene he appears in.

Keanu is a film with an illogical premise that has no right to work, but Key and Peele ultimately wins the crowd over with their comedic chemistry and on-screen presence. Their conversion to the silver screen isn’t a completely successful endeavour as a lot gags miss the target or repeat itself and the supporting cast don’t add much. As a first time effort, they have done an admirable job and I can’t wait to see damage these two can muster.

RATING: WATCH AT A DISCOUNTED PRICE 

Category: Hollywood, Reviews
Olisa Nwokedi
About The Author
- Olisa is an Aberystwyth University law graduate and Fordham University School of Law Masters graduate who was admitted into the Nigerian Bar in July 2016. He enjoys playing and watching rugby, writing, watching movies, playing video-games and Shark wrestling.......... that last part was fiction.