Keanu: Cat Power, by Rudie Obias
Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key are the masterminds behind the sketch comedy show Key & Peele on Comedy Central. While the show was edgy with its political statements and views on pop culture, there was an underlying tone behind each sketch: it was always funny! With the pair’s new film Keanu, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key take their brand of comedy to the big screen with a dash of action and social commentary that might not work from scene-to-scene, but is always funny in a big way.
Keanu follows Peele’s Rell, a 30-something man-child that is emotionally wrecked when his girlfriend breaks up with him, and Key’s Clarence, his best friend who’s a well-grounded family man with a career in corporate team building. While Rell can’t seem to get his life together, he starts to become more put-together when Keanu, a stray kitten, walks into his life. While he’ll do just about anything for his new-found friend, Rell and Clarence find themselves in the middle of a drug war when Keanu’s past catches up with him.
Keanu completely works as an action comedy! It has a brilliant pace and unique point-of-view that you don’t often see in modern Hollywood films. The premise is easy to set up and follow, while Key and Peele inject almost every ounce of the movie with laugh-out-loud moments that edges on offensive and distasteful. It’s clear that the film’s writers Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens come from the world of improvisation because each joke and moment continues to build and add to something explosive and big. There is seriously never a dull moment in all of Keanu’s 98-minute running time, which is important for comedies not to wear out its welcome.
It also works as an action film. In fact, the opening scene is a big shoot out with drug dealers and hitmen that never shies away from finesse and style. It’s a great way to get an audience engaged with the world and story, as something to always take (somewhat) seriously, even though it’s a comedy. From the get-go, director Peter Atencio makes the audience worry about the well-being of its characters despite the overall silliness of the film. Keanu is even bookended with wall-to-wall action sequences that are reminiscent of an underrated comedy from 2012: Casa de Mi Padre. Both films are hilarious comedies mixed with absurd action that’s also thrilling, yet packed with real characters and stakes.
However, the film runs into problems with its structure. Considering the cast and writer’s background, Keanu feels like small sketches put together with the same characters throughout. It doesn’t feel like the film flows from scene-to-scene as well as it should, while it also feels somewhat loose and slack. But despite its flaws, Keanu is a great time at the movies and a real crowd-pleaser. Also, the cat is very adorable and it seems that a lesser movie would try to center the whole film on that aspect, but luckily, Keanu does not. The film is driven with its wonderful characters and simple story that’s just really, really funny!