With Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s successful television show coming to an end, it was only a matter of time before we saw them branch out to other projects. While they both have tendencies to make smaller appearances in their friends’ television and movie projects, Keanu marks their first project together on the big screen.
Keanu tells the story of Rell Williams (Peele), a man who is lost in life after his girlfriend suddenly breaks up with him. He finds himself when a mysterious kitten shows up at his doorstep and gives him purpose again. When the kitten is stolen from his apartment, he turns to his cousin Clarence (Key), to help him get the titular kitten back.
With Keanu being the comedic duo’s feature film debut, it is understandable that their first movie would have some kinks in it. While it is very funny at times, the jokes are hit and miss throughout, with a lot more misses than hits. There are really only three jokes told during the movie, but they keep getting repeated over and over again, until the audience gets tired of getting hit with the same joke every 30 seconds. Keanu truly feels like a sketch from the pair’s television show that got stretched out to fit the films relatively short 100 minute runtime. It is also hard to see some of the jokes sticking with a younger audience, because many of the jokes feature pop culture references from the 80s and early 90s.
This writer does not want to come off as too harsh, because Keanu is enjoyable throughout. While the jokes do get old at times, it is Key and Peele’s chemistry with each other and the rest of the cast that make the film work. Keanu is a complete farce, but the twosome sells everything so well that the audience is compelled to stay with the film. The audience can see that they are motivated to make them work, and while the characters are way over their heads, it is still believable that they would end up in this situation. The film is also helped by multiple celebrity cameos that help keep the audience on their toes. It is amusing to see who will show up and make a memorable appearance. The soundtrack is composed of mostly George Michael songs, one of the running jokes in the film, which adds humor but also helps shape who the characters are in the audience’s eyes. It also helps that the titular kitten is one of the most adorable cats you will ever see.
While Keanu is not as funny as some of the better skits on the pair’s television show, it is definitely worth a watch at some point. This writer is hopeful the duo can tighten up their scripts and truly make a revolutionary comedy with their next film. Hollywood currently has a hole in the legendary comic duo spot, and Key and Peele has the potential to fill it.