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Keanu (2016)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

KEANU (2016)

Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Will Forte, Luis Guzman

Written By: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens Directed By: Peter Atencio

The Shot

Comedians Key and Peele play suburban milquetoasts pretending to be vicious gangsters so they can rescue a kitten from a drug dealer.  You can’t possibly be ignorant of what you’re getting into here.  It’s no Beverly Hills Cop, but Keanu is funny enough to be worthwhile if you can deal with overabundance of N-and-MF-bombs.

The Highball

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?


Because kitten can has cheezburger!

Pairs Well With...


Because it’s HARD.  Yeah.  Not some suburban thing.  Nope.  It’s gangsta, yo.

“You sound like John Ritter all the time!”

Unlike just about every other person I interact with on a daily basis, I have never seen Key and Peele on Comedy Central.  So why, then, would I go out of my way to be there for the first showing of Keanu, Key and Peele’s first major motion picture?

Two words: gangsta kitten.

It’s well nigh impossible to see a description of the plot of this flick and not have a basic understanding of what you’re getting into here.  Key and Peele play suburban milquetoasts pretending to be vicious gangsters so they can rescue a kitten from a drug dealer.  Very few brain cells will be required to absorb what follows; indeed, having too many engaged at once just might be a liability.  Silly comedy with a wee bit of action violence, fishes out of water, extremely cute kitten, decent odds that someone’s going to have a drug hallucination somewhere along the way that allows said kitten to speak.  Check, check, check, and oh yes they really went there and they did it right check.

Realistically, that’s all you need to know to decide whether or not Keanu is going to be your “thang.”

Okay; maybe there’s just one more item.

In their efforts to be “gangsta,” our heroes let loose with about six billion “N-bombs” that rhyme with “trigger,” liberally peppered with a heavy garnish of “M-F” bombs.  (In a chuckle-worthy moment, Key’s character actually goes on a clean-mouthed diatribe about how reprehensible he thinks it is to use such speech… before proceeding to loudly talk that way for much of the rest of the movie.)  I get it; people really talk that way.  But it does start to feel overdone after the first two or three minutes, and is exceptionally tiresome after half an hour.  Fortunately, since the cute kitten is AWOL for most of this stretch, George Michael comes to the rescue while that joke gets old, which keeps the movie both funny and watchable.  (Though I do think that perhaps someone could have taken a few lessons from Quentin Tarantino about how to properly swear in a movie.)  But, if that kind of language in quantity is going to offend you, well then, motherfucker, you’ve been warned.

With that said…

It’s obvious that Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and their team of collaborators watched all of the classic 1980s era comedies and took notes while doing it.  Elements are there and names are dropped.  Eddie Murphy doesn’t have to sweat anytime soon, but the recent arrivals do a decent job of taking the old formula and giving it some new polish to fit in with the twenty-teens.

And then, of course, there’s Keanu himself: the gangsta kitten.

The creative team here does a fantastic job of making the kitten relevant to Keanu as something other than the film’s MacGuffin.  I agree with every character on the screen; the kitten (actually, seven stunt kittens, but hey) is exceptionally cute, but he’s also got personality.  This becomes more and more apparent as the movie progresses, until Keanu eventually becomes a full-on participant in major action sequences without making everything else turn stupid.  Er.  It’s quite an achievement, really.  I was impressed.

Is this to say that Keanu has earned a place as a modern comedy classic?  No, not really.  But if you don’t mind the base vocabulary run amok, it is funny enough to be worth a look, and if you’re really into cute kittens (and who isn’t?), possibly even worth picking up on video once the price drops below ten bucks.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, May, 2016

More From The Bar! | John Wick | Deadpool | Man of Tai Chi |

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