Directed by Peter Atencio
Written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens
Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Method Man, Luis Guzmán, Nia Long, Will Forte, and Jason Mitchell
“Keanu” combines the comedy team of Key and Peele, action, and an adorable kitty; What’s not to love? Technically there are a few things not to love, but adorable kitty.
What works for “Keanu,” aside from the kitty, is the comedy of Key and Peele. These guys had a successful and popular series on Comedy Central, and what made the show a success is the same thing that is on display in this movie: their chemistry. The funniest moments of this film are the moments when Key and Peele are going back and forth with each other. Aside from Key and Peele “Keanu” had a fantastic supporting cast that included Will Forte, Jason Mitchell – coming off of a phenomenal performance in “Straight Outta Compton” – and a hilarious cameo from Anna Faris. Both Forte and Mitchell were fantastic, and their scenes were enjoyable and rounded out the cast.
Often, with comedy the casting is more important than the writing, mostly because any comedian worth their salt are skilled improvisers and the improvisation is where the comedy comes from most of the time. If it is done well, you do not realize that it was improvised. As written the premise of the movie is perfect – or shall I say purrfect – for comedy. “Keanu” is about two guys who get mixed with gangs and drug kingpins because they want to get their cat back. That is a silly premise. I was expecting them to use Graham Chapman’s Colonel character from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” to announce that the movie was getting too silly.
At brisk 98 minutes, it is odd to say, but, “Keanu” could have been a tight 88 minutes. There was one bit, while a good bit, was a little too long. There were a few scenes that felt out of place and were not needed in the movie. It is not that this film is a torturous 98 minutes, it is more that the movie could have been given a tighter structure. I do not blame Key and Peele for the slack structure because of their background in sketch comedy. “Keanu” would have been a great sketch, but it did stretch out too well.
“Keanu” may not be the cat’s meow, but what is not to enjoy about a comedy with a cute kitty and gang members jamming out to George Michael in a minivan.