Anyone who knows anything about the comic duo Key and Peel, was excited for this movie; a possible throwback to classic comedy double acts. Keegan-Michael Key, is the tall anxious neurotic energetic one and Jordan Peele is the shorter and slicker one and together they compliment each other perfectly. They take turns playing the straight man bouncing off the other to amazing effect like two seasoned actors swapping parts night after night, and Keanu is their first big screen project and one that still manages to keep the same energy that made their show so popular.
So imagine: Key and Peele appearing as two nerds trying to pass off as gangsters. A perfect premise that works to the duo’s strength even if it’s admittedly a one-joke movie.
Well, it’s more of a two joke film or at the very least one and a half in the form of a cat so cute that even the most vicious of criminals and gangsters are instantly charmed and willing to do anything to chase it down. The cat in question escapes a bloody drug shooting in the movie’s opening scene and ends up on the doorstep of Rell (Peele) a recently dumped stoner who instantly falls in love with the animal. But when someone catnaps Keanu, Rell enlists the help of uptight father Clarence (Key) to try and track down the cat. They end up on the wrong side of town entangled with a criminal organisation led by Cheddar (Method Man) who stole Keanu for himself.
A lot of the humour revolves around the basic fish out of water story. Two mild-mannered nerds trying to bullshit their why through various dilemmas all the while trying to contain their panic. The pair are consistently funny throughout the movie, masking how shallow the plot really is. The basic idea behind the movie while funny is hard to maintain after an hour and a half. Especially for a duo that’s used to performing in three minute snippets. The fact that some gags are repeated over and over again just exposes their sketch comedy background and sometimes as a result, the movie can go on tangents that don’t really go anywhere and are clearly just there to fill time. The movie seems totally reliant on the charisma between the leads instead of the actual material.
What this movie was really lacking was the social commentary and biting sarcasm that really made their weekly TV show what it is and the lack of bite really shows in the final product.
Keanu is on general release now