Keanu (2016) ⭐⭐

Like an overstretched SNL skit, Keanu is disappointingly sporadic in its laughs.

 

Directed by Peter Atencio

 

I love Key and Peele. Ever since i found their comedy show on YouTube, i was hooked by the short 3-6 minute sketches that showcased a variety of colorful characters and comedy styles. They do everything from race jokes, stereotypes, jabs at politics, sports jokes, you get the idea.

So when news got out that they were doing a feature length film together, i was cautiously optimistic since short sketches dont often translate well into the big screen. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Keanu just isn’t very good.

The movie follows Rell (Jorden Peele) whose life is changed forever when a cute kitten comes to his door. He names it Keanu and they become the best of friends. Unfortunately a week later Keanu is kidnapped, and madness ensues.

keanu-mv-2

There is no doubting Key and Peele’s talent as chameleons when it comes to acting, but here they are confined to just 2 personas. The black guys who sound white, and the black guys trying to sound gangster. It is not particularly inspired and fans will notice numerous jokes have been rehashed into the movie. Race jokes  and stereotypes being the focus here. However the films biggest offender is that it feels like a sketch that has been stretched on way too long. The plot is clear cut but there is a ton of padding in what feels like a very loosely paced hunt for Keanu.

My biggest disappointment stems from the decision to ditch most of the clever jokes in favor of a more slapstick approach. Part of the reason for Key and Peele’s success came from the fact that they sneaked in plenty of clever comedy and commentary into their slapstick skits, and their comedy was often cinematic. Here, what you see is what you get.

What i will say is this, the dynamic duo remains as likable as ever as the everyday best friends trying to fit in with gangsters. Sure, its repetitive, but there are some genuinely funny moments sprinkled throughout, (a car scene in particular which i will not spoil) and the film has a very steady pace of jokes. However if you are a die hard fan of their previous work, you may leave Keanu feeling rather overwhelmed. To newcomers, its a decent, if forgettable buddy comedy.

But hey, at least the cat is cute.

 

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