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Key & Peele save KEANU the cat … and movie – Movie Review

Keanu Key and Peele

In Keanu, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key try to save the most adorable kitten on the face of the earth from a drug dealer. The visionary creators of the fantastic TV sketch show, Key & Peele, joining forces to save a kitten? In a feature film? Sounds fantastic.

Then within the first 10 minutes of Keanu, Key and Peele lurch into a rehash of one of their most famous bits, the valets gushing over Liam Neeson(s). Uh-oh. Before the film even has a chance to get its feet, fear sets in that this will be nothing more than recycled jokes from Key & Peele. Thankfully, that isn’t the case, as the duo, playing average suburbanites, are forced to act like gangsters in order to get Keanu back from Cheese (Method Man), a local drug dealer. Seriously, have you seen the kitten? It’s crazy cute.

Keanu

Yes, Keanu bears some resemblance to that other Keanu (Reeves) movie about pet revenge, last year’s cult classic John Wick. Even better, Keanu voices Keanu (the cat) in one scene.

Keanu tries to elevate itself beyond the cookie cutter plot, throwing in some actual consequences for people who get into random shoot-outs, but it’s not enough. Too often, Key and Peele slip into skits that run long, slowing down the pacing. There’s also a plethora of George Michael jokes, some of which are great. The rest of them? Not so much. Mostly though, Keanu is much funnier than it has any right to be.

Keanu

The only way to describe Key and Peele’s chemistry, in Keanu or anything else, is sheer joy. The two have been playing off of each other for over a decade and at this point it’s impossible to know what’s scripted and what’s improvised between them. Some of these bits absolutely run too long, but they’re so good it almost doesn’t matter. Key and Peele could read boxes of toothpaste out loud together for 10 straight hours and it would be hilarious. Well, maybe eight hours of it. The other two would entail bathroom and rest breaks.

The first feature film from the creators of Key & Peele should have been more than just a “Key and Peele rescue an adorable kitten” movie. Like a lot of other comedians, they go for a script that gives them an excuse to be funny coughSisterscough instead of something worthwhile. For two people who created one of the most thought-provoking sketch comedy shows ever, Keanu feels like a safe jumping off point for their foray into feature films.

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The Author

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill used to spend his time writing screenplays into a notebook instead of doing homework. That love of film and all things storytelling led him to spend most of his time writing. He's been a film critic in North Carolina for over five years, and his debut novel, THE BOOK OF BART, is out now. Please buy it. Ryan also feels odd about referring to himself in the third person.