Quick Movie Review: Keanu (2016)

keanu

If you’ve ever wished there were a movie filled with songs by both George Michael and Future, then this is the one for you.

Keanu is engaging right from the opening scene, where two shadowy figures craftily shoot up an entire drug operation inside of an old church.

And so it begins. After wrapping up their eponymous sketch comedy show, Keegan-MIchael Key and Jordan Peele embark on their first film together. Written by Peele and starring both of them, Keanu follows Rell (Peele), who has just suffered a major breakup. And on the verge of of a downward spiral, he discovers a kitten on his doorstep. This kitten is Keanu. Immediately falling in love–like anyone would with a kitten–it fills the void that his ex-girlfriend left. This is pretty much the first and last time his breakup is mentioned in the whole movie.

Within days, Keanu is stolen. And Rell, along with his cousin, Clarence (Key), ventures into the depths of an underground drug circle, infiltrating a gang called the Blips (a combination of the Bloods and the Crips). They pretend to be drug lords as well, forcing them to talk more aggressively and “gangster”, fearing their “white-washed personas” will get them caught immediately.

There are some very funny bits in this movie. Sure, many jokes go on for too long, while others awkwardly flop, but with Key and Peele, it’s the awkwardness that makes them funny.

Even when the two of them aren’t making you laugh, you can’t stop watching them try to be funny. You might even catch yourself smiling at it a few times.

Some details about the plot are unclear, but nothing too frustrating. From the earliest scenes, there are a handful of holes in the logic of this film. A main one being: how would any experienced gangster not be able to snuff out two obvious phonies? But it’s a comedy that prides itself on silliness, so we shouldn’t care too much.

Like any good comedy, there are more hits than misses. It narrowly undershoots the mark of being the next 21 Jump Street. It’s consistent, but it’s never groundbreaking. With less formulaic beats, maybe it could’ve been just that. Though I’m convinced formula is what they are going for, taking references from old buddy action films of yesteryear.

Plus, there’s a subtle Bill & Ted reference, giving it extra points from me.

For those of you who are fans of Key & Peele’s show, you’ll enjoy the humor. But not to fear, it’s not just one long drawn-out sketch. It’s a solid action-comedy, but with a familiar brand of humor. As for others, you may be slightly caught off guard. You might leave the theater feeling like you’ve accidentally stumbled into an arcane universe that somehow you never knew existed until now. But the movie’s feel is familiar enough that you’ll still enjoy yourself. I guess their plan worked.

Twizard Rating: 84

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