Stars: 3.5 out of 5
Key and Peele are getting more recognition with their cancelled variety comedy series named after them, and this took place after their ‘Mad TV’ years. While Keegan-Michael Key is in almost every comedy/animated film that has, or is coming out, we’ve never actually seen his good friend, Jordan Peele in anything, have we? So both Key and Peele have decided to take their buddy humor to the big screen in the cutesy Gangster comedy ‘Keanu,’ which also happens to star a cute kitten which Peele’s character names Keanu (as a tribute to Keanu Reeves).
In ‘Keanu,’ Key and Peele play the same buddy characters, but their characters are related, even though they still act like best friends in each and every scene they’re in together. Peele plays Rell, who has just gone through a breakup with his girlfriend, and it seems that nothing can cheer him up. That is, until the day that the title kitten starts scratching on his door. He instantly takes a liking to Keanu, and even spends so much time with it as a way to help him cope with the depression that has taken over in his life (Cats are good at that, and ‘Keanu’ may hit close to home with cat lovers). Key’s George Michael-obsessed Clarence decides to show up at Rell’s door in order to cheer him up, and ends up meeting Keanu.
A couple weeks pass and Clarence’s wife, Hannah (Nia Long), is going away with a friend, leaving him to bring Rell- who is making a personal cat-themed calendar -to see a Liam Neeson action-thriller (quite a chuckle-worthy moment); when they get back to Rell’s house, they find the place in shambles and discover that Keanu has been kidnapped (or to point out the obvious, “Cat-napped”). This causes them to get information from Rell’s weed dealer/neighbor (Will Forte) and search for Keanu, all while pretending to be gang members in order to get Rell’s cat back.
‘Keanu’ is a treat for cat lovers, who may find the title cat adorable; with each scene Keanu is in, he puts a smile on your face and may make you want to spend time with your furry friend(s) more when you leave the theater. The film, however, feels like a car that stalls while starting up in its first half; it has the engine power to run, but not enough to keep me going. Like the car, it does however have enough as soon as it keeps driving with good jokes, plenty of movie references (many including Keanu Reeves) and energy that Key and Peele have when pretending to be these gangsters. Forte also helps bring the humor with his character and ended up making me chuckle. Keanu may also be the most heartfelt animal since Sparky in Tim Burton’s remake of ‘Frankenweenie.’ I was rooting for the cat the whole time while feeling nervous when danger came its way. ‘Keanu’ may not be the best gangster movie, but it may be the first one that ranks as “Adorable”.