Review by Adam Winn, Staff writer
For the past five years, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key made fans of their sketch show “Key & Peele” laugh along with all their innovative characters and scenarios. This time around, the duo have created their first feature length film, “Keanu.”
While this new project does have its fair share of comedic moments, the plot ends up feeling more like a never-ending, R-rated skit than an actual movie.
The story revolves around two nerdy friends, Clarence Goobril (Key), an up-tight family man, and Rell Williams (Peele), a stoner who just got dumped by his long-time girlfriend. After Williams’ newly-adopted kitten Keanu is cat-napped by a gang called the 17th Street Blips, the two friends pretend to be a pair of notorious assassins in order to win back Keanu from the gang’s leader, Cheddar (Method Man).
If audience members were fans of the pair’s former series, then there is a chance that they will enjoy the storyline behind this film. Conversely, if the viewer wasn’t a fan of the show or never viewed it, then they might not enjoy all of the awkward, slap-stick humor that the film contains.
The story relies heavily on clichéd plot devices that have been done a hundred times over in other action-comedy films, like “Pineapple Express” and “Friday.” The film’s plot also feels like it was a sketch idea that the duo never got around to producing when their show was still airing.
While some of the jokes were entertaining, several fell flat and didn’t even deserve a chuckle. There is a recurring theme about how much Goobril loves the music produced by recording artist, George Michael. The joke is completely overused throughout the film, and it gets to the point that audiences will start to feel annoyed every time it’s mentioned.
For those feline lovers expecting to go in and watch a movie about a cat, be forewarned; while the cat may be the focal point of the story, the kitten only has about 25 minutes of screen time in the whole film. With that said, the scenes involving the actual cat tend to be the most engaging parts.
The lead actors, though, were a strong comedic force. They each did a great job playing off each other’s personalities at the right moments, mainly because they’ve been doing this for years.
Of the two, Peele gave the best performance. His character appeared funnier and more realistic, since he seems like the kind of guy who would actually lay on his couch all day, smoking weed.
Key, on the other hand, seemed a little too far outside his normal comfort zone, because his character has to act like an uptight, nerdy father that enjoys ‘80s pop music, and the audience can tell that’s not his normal persona. With that said, he still gave an overall great character portrayal and did the best with what he had to work with.
The rest of the supporting cast gave decent performances, but none of them were as entertaining or memorable as the lead actors were. The film also contained some unexpected celebrity cameos. By doing this, it helped draw the viewers back into the plot during some of its lower points.
Key and Peele’s comedy is not made for everyone. The plot needed a smarter edge, unique ideas and more entertaining jokes. If the viewer can forgive these few abhorrent qualities, they will surely turn out for whatever projects the comedy duo releases in the future.