Release Date: April 29, 2016
Running Time: 100 minutes
Kittens are cute. So cute. Especially when they are dodging bullets during the middle of a drug-related shootout. The eponymous kitten of the hysterical if overlong Key and Peele action-comedy Keanu is so darn cute—yes, I’ve said it again—that his new owner is willing to break the law so he can rescue this tiny ball of fluffy fur from its gangster catnapper, Cheddar (Method Man). Jordan Peele is Keanu’s distraught owner Rell. Keegan-Michael Key is Michael, Rell’s best friend and willing participant in his plan to retrieve Keanu from Cheddar by posing as feared hired assassins and infiltrating Cheddar’s drug organization. Given that Key and Peele have spent many years working together in comedy, it’s no surprise that the script Peele wrote with Alex Rubens plays to their comic strengths. Under the attentive direction of Peter Atencio, who directed every episode of their beloved Comedy Central series, Key and Peele make a hilarious transformation from nerdy wimps to gun-toting bad boys with ease and confidence. Along the way they manage to poke fun at racial stereotypes and slam celebrity culture through a well-placed, cleverly employed extended cameo by a TV sitcom actress playing an obviously fictional version of herself. And let’s not forget a Zen-like voice cameo from an actor Keanu pays tribute to in several ways. Key and Peele’s heavy reliance on George Michael’s greatest hits as a means to express Key’s character of Michael’s perceived “whiteness” is very amusing—especially when the former Wham! heartthrob’s songs are used as a bonding experience between Michael and Cheddar’s underlings. But no one will blame you if you don’t want to hear “Freedom” or “Father Figure” ever again. Keanu does wear out its welcome after coming to what appears to be its natural climax 20 minutes from the end of the film. The tacked-on final showdown between our heroes and Cheddar seems designed to merely ante up the action. Despite this, Keanu represents a successful transition from TV to film for a comedy duo with a lot to say.
Aired: April 28, 2016
Web site: http://keanumovie.com/