Dog’s Movie House: “Keanu” Hilarious, But Not For The Squeamish!
Howdy Folks! It’s The Kendog!
I must confess that never having watched the sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” I didn’t know what to expect when this duo decided to bring their antics to the big screen in the new film “Keanu.” But having seen the previews and chuckled more than a few times, I found myself intrigued at the possibility of a film about two dudes masquerading as gangsters in the attempt to get back their abducted cat. Thankfully, the movie delivers far more than it doesn’t, and in so doing signals the arrival of a couple of massive comic talents.
“Keanu” details the exploits of Rell (Jordan Peele) and Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) two friends who find themselves at a crossroads in their respective lives. Rell has just been dumped by his girlfriend, while Clarence is suffering something of a crisis in terms of his marriage. Rell gets a new lease on life in the form of a cute runaway kitten who he names Keanu. That happiness is short lived, however, when Rell and Clarence arrive at Rell’s apartment to find it ransacked and Keanu missing. A series of clues leads them to the lair of a gangster named Cheddar (Method Man) who has Keanu and will give him over only after the two establish their bonafides as legitimate gangsters. Things spiral out of control from there!
Your enjoyment of “Keanu” will depend solely on whether or not you vibe with their type of humor, most of which involves heavy profanity and incessant use of the N-word as a foundation for their humor. If you’re easily offended by either of these things, don’t bother buying a ticket. But if you’re like me, “Keanu” may be one of the funniest films you’ll see all year. The performances are spot on, especially Keegan-Michael Key as Clarence, a fellow who uses this attempt to help his friend get Keanu back as an opportunity to unleash his inner thug with hilariously inappropriate results. Key goes from vanilla to gangster to vanilla again so seamlessly at times that it’s like watching two different people. Witness the scene in which Clarence explains to his new gangster friends the street cred of singer George Michaels. By the time he’s done, everyone’s singing “Careless Whisper” like it’s a James Brown power ballad. Absolutely hilarious.
Jordan Peele is also in fine form as Rell, a stoner and perpetual underachiever whose big thing is creating a calendar featuring Keanu dressed up as characters from iconic films. Rell is a little more street savvy than Clarence, but not much and his advice to Clarence on how to behave in the presence of a dangerous man like Cheddar often takes a severe right turn into Holy Crapville. The chemistry between the two leads in natural which makes up for the fact that the script (by Peele and Alex Rubens) doesn’t give the two a great deal of in depth character development. That aside, I found myself really rooting for these two ordinary guys to get their cat back.
The other cast members to fine work, including Method Man as Cheddar, Tiffany Haddish as Hi-C, the tough female member of the crew who may or may not have a thing for Rell, and “Straight Outta Compton’s” Jason Mitchell as Bud, a young gangster who ends up looking up to Clarence as a surrogate father figure. There’s also an hilarious uncredited cameo by Anna Faris playing a screwed up version of herself. Will Forte and Luis Guzman also provide laughs as Rell’s drug dealer and the original owner of Keanu, respectively. Oh, and let’s not forget the seven kittens who play Keanu, one of the cutest animals ever put on the big screen. His presence is just enough to make you believe that Rell and Clarence would go to the lengths they do to get him back.
Director Peter Atencio (another Key & Peele regular) deserves a lot of credit for making a film that doesn’t feel like an extended television sketch. Although the premise is somewhat ludicrous, the stakes actually feel very real and the humor is often punctuated with some shocking scenes of violence. This is a hard R, folks, but it’s worth your time if you like this sort of comedy. It ain’t for everybody, but for this particular reviewer, “Keanu” is one hell of a funny movie! I look forward with great anticipation at the next project from the creators of “Key & Peele.” 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! SO Sayeth The Kendog!
“Keanu” is Rated R for violence, language throughout, drug use and sexuality/nudity.