Thursday, May 12, 2016

Movie Review #422: "Keanu" (2016)

Director: Peter Atencio
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
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After breaking up with his girlfriend, Rell (Jordan Peele) feels like his life is in a shambles. When a stray kitten shows up on his door step, it gives his life purpose once more. One evening, he and his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) go to the movies. Upon returning home, Rell discovers his home has been broken into and his kitten Keanu has been stolen. They discover the 17th street Blips are responsible for the break-in. Rell and his cousin must now infiltrate the gang and convince them they are gangsters themselves in order to get Keanu back.

We absolutely loved "Key and Peele" and were pretty heartbroken when the show ended. It was one of the funniest programs on television. "Keanu" has given Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele their first foray into feature length films in this action comedy. This movie is directed by Peter Atencio, who directed the comedy team through the tenure of their television show. Key and Peele are no strangers to film themselves as they both have played many supporting characters in other various projects throughout the years. However, this is the first time the duo have headlined a film together in front of and behind the camera. We hope it won't be their last, especially when considering this movie hasn't exactly made an exorbitant amount of money.

Jordan Peele plays Rell, a man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend and is stuck in a deep depression. His depression ends when a tiny, adorable kitten shows up on his doorstep, which he names Keanu. Upon returning home from a fun night out with his cousin Clarence, played by Keegan-Michael Key, they discover Keanu has been stolen by a gang called the 17th Street Blips (those who were kicked out of both the bloods and the crips). Keanu winds up the pet of the gang's leader, a hardcore gangster named Cheddar, played by Method Man, so Rell and Clarence must infiltrate the gang to get Rell's beloved kitten back. As you can imagine, Rell and Clarence are the least gangster people around. Clarence is a family man, drives a minivan, is a perpetual people-pleaser, and absolutely loves listening to George Michael and Wham!. Rell is a big stoner who is really into movies. Together, these two bumbling buffoons must lie and fake their way into Cheddar's operation, maintaining that they are actually a notorious assassin duo called the Allentown Boys, who just committed a huge operation where over 100 people were killed.

The premise of this movie is absolutely ridiculous, but that's what makes "Keanu" so damn fun. The comedy in the film consists of a lot of awkward humor as these two suburbanites try to channel their inner gangster, all while looking for a cat. Key and Peele play up on a lot of racial stereotypes for satirical purposes, and they are able to pull it off quite well. Essentially, "Keanu" is one elongated Key and Peele sketch, not that we're complaining. Those looking for something beyond what they may have seen on uncensored television probably need to look elsewhere. But, for those of you who are game, the film definitely kept us smiling and chuckling pretty much constantly throughout its run time. Though some of the jokes didn't land where they intended, more often than not, we were happy with the final result. To go along with the abundance of witty humor is a lot over-the-top violence. This film would not have have worked with a PG-13 rating, so they take full advantage of the fact that it's rated R as bullets, limbs, and blood fly everywhere, and often. The performances are great. Key and Peele do their thing as per usual, alongside a slew of other memorable performances. Method Man doesn't act as much as he used to, but he clearly hasn't lost his game for this particular type of character. Will Forte plays Rell's weed dealer with cornrows, a horrible accent, and an affinity towards De La Soul. His part is more minor, but hilarious. Finally, another good performance comes from Tiffany Haddish, who plays Hi-C, the only lady gangster in the 17th Street Blips. She has a lot of hilarious exchanges as she's wary of both Clarence and Rell and their true intentions. By far, though, the best performance goes to the adorable little kitten who plays Keanu. Have you seen a cuter kitty before!?

As we mentioned, we were fans of Key and Peele when they were on television, and we were looking forward to "Keanu" very much because of this. It didn't disappoint us in the slightest. We are quite pleased with the final result, but it's definitely not for everyone. Be prepared for a lot of George Michael. We must say, Key and Peele might star in this film, but the kitten is so damn adorable that it is a complete show-stealer. Also, "Keanu" is deceptively deep, showing how far one man will go for to save his friend and family member. The sentiment was not lost on us. We look forward to watching everything Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have to offer in the future.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Pitch Perfect 2"

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