Contemporary Review / Review

Keanu

by Courtney RaveloKEANU2A hotly anticipated film for lovers of Key & Peele on Comedy Central, Keanu does not disappoint. I went into the theater with an unbiased mindset, fully expecting the movie to come up short in its attempts to be funny. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have never created a movie before, so I didn’t think a great film was in the cards. With excellent comedic timing and strong chemistry between the pair, Key and Peele play their roles perfectly, giving their special brand of comedy a new edge.

Fans of Key & Peele aren’t the only ones that will enjoy this film, though. The humor that runs throughout this feel-good action comedy is raw and avoids clichés, and the film as a whole is impressively put together. The budget isn’t especially large, but the effects are incredible (i.e. shooting scenes, car chases and a live kitten acting better than some humans with the help of CGI) and Peter Atencio’s direction stays focused on making a ridiculous plot believable.

Keanu is about cousins Rell (Jordan Peele) and Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) spending a weekend trying to get Rell’s new kitten (named Keanu) back from the Blips (a gang created by people kicked out of the Bloods and the Crips). They start out way in over their heads and as the movie progresses, their chances of getting Keanu back seem to get lower and lower. The duo runs into some crazy characters along the way and gets mixed up in some life or death situations, but the love they have for Keanu motivates them to keep going.

The cinematography of the film is mostly standard, but for the bigger action scenes, the shots are wider and the camera angles encompass everything going on. A scene with particularly notable aesthetics is the last shootout sequence, which plays out in slow motion with a killer soundtrack climaxing in the background.

The audience is led to root for Rell and Clarence throughout the film, even though they’ve stupidly gotten themselves into this mess and broken the law at different points. The best part about this movie is Key and Peele’s effortless hilarity. Some comedies try too hard to get constant laughs and come off as contrived in the process; such is not the case with Keanu. The two leads play off each other well, exchanging extreme facial expressions and complementing each other’s opposing characteristics. Clarence is uptight with a family and a career, while Rell is a pothead who has no plans for the foreseeable future. Having these two characters be best friends is something of an anomaly, but an anomaly that works well because of the close friendship and comedic brand Key and Peele have created over the years.

The only problem I have with this film is that it rips off 21 Jump Street at some points. Two guys who don’t usually break the law team up, with one of them (Clarence) getting high on a hardcore drug at a certain point and going on a bad trip. This is followed by one of the gang members turning out to be a cop and saving their lives at the last second, with the underdog getting the girl. It’s a little predictable, but entertaining nonetheless.

Keanu is a side-splitting comedy performed by a well-known and beloved comedic pair, who write, produce, act, and create for themselves. As a Key & Peele fan since the show started, I’m inspired by seeing how far they’ve come. This movie leaves me hopeful that Key and Peele are only just getting started and that there will be more films to come, as funny, if not funnier, than Keanu.

5 out of 5 stars

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