Key & Peele Hit the Big Screen in "Keanu"

Updated on May 12, 2016
Source

Pet owners sometimes show they will do anything for their animal companions. The comedy Keanu shows one of those extremes. Following a shootout between the Allentown Boys and a rival drug operation, a kitten who was named Iglesias makes his way to the home of a man named Rell Williams (Jordan Peele), who's just lost his girlfriend. Rell calls the kitten Keanu and starts to pamper his new feline companion. Rell's married friend Clarence Goobril (Keegan-Michael Key), hiding his joy over the end of Rell's relationship, comes to console his friend. Clarence has the weekend to himself, since his wife Hannah (Nia Long) and daughter Belle (Jordyn A. Davis) have left town with family friends. The friends spend the evening at the movies, only to return to find the front door open and Keanu missing. Clarence discovers Keanu's collar and name tag.

The pair go to Rell's next door neighbor Hulka (Will Forte), who sells pot to Rell. He thinks that the Blips gang, whose name combines the Bloods and the Crips, had come looking for him, and instead gone to the wrong house. When Clarence and Rell press Hulka for details about where to find the Blips, Hulka reluctantly tells the pair the gang have their headquarters at a club called Hot Party Vixens. They stick out like a sore thumb, but their hard talking convinces gang member Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish) to take them to gang leader Cheddar (Method Man). Cheddar does indeed have the kitten, which he has named New Jack. Mistaking them for the Allentown Boys (also played by Key and Peele), Cheddar wants them to show some of the skill they used to take care of their rival. In exchange, Clarence and Rell ask for New Jack as pay. They're assigned to sell a new drug concoction with an expletive in its name. They go with Hi-C and other members to the home of Anna Faris (as herself) to sell the new drug, but things go wrong. Though the mission succeeds, Cheddar changes the deal, and Clarence and Rell learn that Bacon Diaz (Luis Guzman), a relative of Keanu's original owner, also wants Keanu. The Allentown Boys also want to deal with Clarence and Rell.

It is sometimes hard for sketch players to take their act to the big screen, as comic duds like The Ladies Man, Superstar, and Going Berserk prove. Keanu is definitely not a dud, but it is an uneven cinematic effort from a duo whose credits include MADtv and their own Comedy Central sketch show. Key & Peele deliver laughs from this ridiculous situation, such as putting Cheddar's crew through a team-building exercise, or bonding with them over George Michael songs. However, the violence, which includes numerous killings, often gives Keanu too serious of a spin. The script came from Peele and Alex Rubens, who wrote on the Key & Peele TV series. While I think Keanu was intended to send up two genres, they could have toned down the action portion significantly. With its focus on jokes more than story, viewers will wonder why gangs would expend so much effort on one small animal and the human he has found. The direction comes from Peter Atencio, who directed every episode of Key & Peele, but has only directed for the big screen once before, in the poorly received 2010 film The Rig. I can't opine about The Rig myself, but Keanu shows Atencio is more at home on the small screen, as this feature has many slow spots.

The big appeal of Keanu is its stars. There's never a moment where I didn't want Clarence and Rell to fail in their seemingly impossible quest to rescue the kitten. Key, as Clarence, convinces Cheddar's men that the best way to be inconspicuous in their activities is to not look too obvious. When they go on the drug deal, they use Clarence's SUV. Peele, as Rell, has to overcome his sense of loss and put on a tough face. He also wonders how someone like Hi-C managed to reach a high rank in a gang where she's the only female member. Forte, Guzman, and Faris also manage to get laughs in their brief appearances. Keanu Reeves makes a cameo voice appearance, sounding like Neo from The Matrix as the titular feline in a hallucinogenic dream sequence involving Clarence and the kitten.

Keanu brings a TV comedy duo to the feature realm for the first time, and they are not bad. The pair rise above the film's weak elements to deliver laughs in a comedy that sometimes becomes too serious for its own good. The movie makes me wish these two funny men eventually find more favorable ways to translate their TV act for the movies. Mixing two divergent film styles is interesting, but Keanu often strays from the movie it was meant to be. It has a tendency to wander, just as the title character had to do. On the big screen, Key and Peele, just like Keanu, have to find the right home.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Keanu 2.5 stars. Here, kitty!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)