A cute kitten plus the comedic genius of Key and Peele seems like a combination for cinematic success. Unfortunately, Keanu was only somewhat funny.
The film, after months of funny trailers and promos, finally found its way to theaters on April 29. Many were excited for the movie because Keanu is the first feature film produced by and starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. The duo is mainly known for Key and Peele, their sketch comedy show that ran from 2012 until 2015.
Keanu follows the adventures of cousins Clarence and Rell (Key and Peele) after Rell, recently single, discovers a baby kitten (Keanu) on his doorstep. Only a few days later, Rell returns home to find his things ransacked and Keanu kidnapped. The two embark on a dangerous mission to find Keanu, who turns out to be the cat of a murdered drug lord.
Admittedly, the movie has its funny moments. There are parts that are reminiscent of classic Key and Peele sketches, especially when the two channel thug/gangster personas to go undercover as Tectonic and Shark Tank. Key’s character, Clarence, also has a particular obsession for George Michael music which earned most of the audience’s laughs.
There’s enough laughs to keep the movie in line with some fan expectations, but the movie isn’t as lighthearted as Key and Peele usually is. Keanu touches on heavy topics like drug dealing, murder and gang violence. How they go about things manages to keep the movie in the “action-comedy” genre, but the amount of violence is somewhat disturbing and tends to detract from the jokes.
In general, the movie was a success among a majority of critics, earning a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Hopefully Key and Peele will continue to create feature-length movies that embody their old comedic tricks, just as long as they find the right balance between action and comedy.