In this action thriller spoof Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele – hitherto best known for their Comedy Central sketch show Key and Peele – play a couple of mild-mannered ‘ordinary’ guys who become embroiled in gang-related crime. This happens because a drug dealer named Cheddar (Method Man) steals the cute kitten (the titular Keanu) that turned up at the door of recently-dumped stoner Rell (Peele) and … whatever; the point is two vaguely-nerdy friends aren’t gangsters but they must walk the walk and talk the talk in order to infiltrate Cheddar’s crew and get the cat back.
Keanu is smarter than the average comedy – though otherwise it shares the same limited technical ambition that has recently blighted the genre – and I’m led to believe it’s much funnier than many other recent movies with similar fish-out-of-water concepts, such as the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart vehicle Get Hard (which I haven’t seen and probably never will see). Writers Peele and Alex Rubens play around with racial stereotyping and identity politics in an arch and witty fashion, they incorporate warm homages to a variety of different well-known movies and there are some good jokes relating to Key’s character’s love of George Michael, though the whole thing starts to run out of steam 30 or 40 minutes from the end. Keanu‘s first hour is entertaining, though, helped along by the main duo’s chemistry and some game supporting performances (including cameos by Keanu Reeves and Anna Faris, both playing versions of themselves).
Directed by: Peter Atencio.
Written by: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens.
Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Method Man, Tiffany Haddish, Will Forte, Luis Guzmán.
Cinematography: Jas Shelton.
Editing: Nicholas Monsour.
Music: Steve Jablonsky, Nathan Whitehad.
Running Time: 100.