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Keanu - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B
Acting: B+
Writing: B
Cinematography: B
Editing: B

I wonder how much crossover there is in the audience for Keanu, between the people who went to see it because they are Key and Peel fans, and those who, like myself, went to see it primarily because they stuck an adorable kitten in the middle of an action comedy. If not for that cat, I likely would not have gone to see this movie. Sure, there's comedy in two nerds trying to pose as thugs and getting caught up in the local drug trade, but that alone is not nearly as interesting as having a kitten be the reason it all happens.

Or, for that matter, having several scenes with Method Man cradling said kitten in his gigantic arms.

And that's what it really comes down to: Keanu, just like countless skits by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, is just silly fun. It's not like this is the kind of movie that can be held to some high minded standard. Did it make me laugh? Indeed it did. But, I also found myself agreeing with the common assessment that it's basically just a Key and Peele skit stretched to ninety minutes, which means there are plenty of lulls, and I did find myself wishing it made me laugh more. That said, I saw the movie with someone who said it made her laugh so much it made her feel sick. As always, humor is subjective.

So what else can I say about this movie that means anything, then? Not much. I guess a little more about the concept. Key and Peel play cousins who are very suburban, but one of them, Rell (Peele), is a stoner in a funk after getting dumped. His spirits are lifted when a stray gray tabby kitten just shows up at his door. He immediately scoops him up, names him Keanu ("I think it means 'cool breeze' in Hawaiian"), and proceeds to make him the subject of photo shoots for a calendar in which he's the standing for famous movie dioramas. He also teaches Keanu to scratch at his scratching post by putting up a photo of his ex and saying "Get that bitch!", which forms the basis for a running gag that is actually pretty clever.

As for Rell's cousin Clarence (Key), he's being left alone for the weekend by his wife to please himself rather than please everyone else, or something. It's all pretty contrived, of course, but I suppose that's the point. I wouldn't call Keanu a particularly smart comedy. That's clearly not what they're exactly going for. These guys, with several scenes in which Clarence extolls the genius of George Michael (even convincing a bunch of drug dealers), just aim to entertain. They generally succeed. It's also a kick late in the film to find Luis Guzmán as another drug kingpin, who is also obsessed with keeping the cat for himself. Will Forte as the neighbor weed dealer in cornrows honestly doesn't work quite as well.

I do kind of wish the cat itself played a more direct role in the story. Keanu really serves as little more than a MacGuffin, the thing the characters pursue but which otherwise has no plot relevance. Several scenes go by with no sign of that ridiculously adorable kitten (reportedly played by 7 different ones, each trained for a different specific task), and I found myself wishing they'd get back to it. Perhaps they were taking a "less is more" approach, and that may have been the best choice. Maybe I'm just obsessed with cats. But that's what the trailer promised, damn it!

I'll give Keanu this much: it's a novel idea. You won't find any other movie like it in theatres right now. That in itself is an achievement, and that it provides plenty of giggles is just icing on the cake.

KEANU could have used a little more Keanu.

Overall: B
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