Keanu Review


Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele have made quite the names for themselves in the USA. Their successful sketch show Key & Peele ran for five seasons, earning itself a huge following and establishing the two as one of the finest double acts in American comedy. Key, a tall, almost nerdy looking bag of nervous energy and Peele, his smaller, wise cracking counterpart make for quite the classic comic pairing and the two finally make their big screen debut in the crime-comedy caper Keanu.

Rell Williams (Peele) has just gone through a difficult break up, his life is in tatters and he seems destined for a life of binge eating and pot smoking. Shortly after the break-up however he gets an unexpected visitor in the shape of a super cute kitten whom he decides to name Keanu. Rell develops a special bond with Keanu, to the point where he even shoots a movie themed calendar with the adorable little feline. That is until Keanu is catnapped by a criminal gang and Rell is forced to recruit his cousin Clarence (Key) to help him infiltrate the criminal underworld in an attempt to save him.  

If the movie’s plot sounds a little silly that’s because it is and what Keanu effectively amounts to is a simple sketch dragged out over a 100 minute run-time. Action comedies however are seldom as amusing as this. Key and Peele have taken a relatively safe gamble here- playing off their undeniable chemistry with some familiar, but still amusing gags that make Keanu a watchable, if not slightly flawed feature. In comparison to some other works in this genre- such as last year’s woeful Let’s Be Cops ( which actually starred Peele as a Mexican drug dealer) this is a knock-out, getting the basics right if nothing else.

Keanu is likely to be marketed as a crime/stoner based comedy in the vein of Pineapple Express, yet at its core it’s actually a rather sweet character based movie about two best friends and their relationship, dealing with topics such as masculinity in crisis and racial stereotyping with just the right amount of charm and subtlety. It is this that makes the movie such an enjoyable watch for the most part. Key and Peele have an infectious charm that makes the helps the movie along even as it begins to sag a little as it approaches its climax. It certainly helps that the Cat is super cute as well.

Key and Peele’s cinematic debut is not going to cause any huge shake ups but it is an infectious, sweet and often funny movie that will manage to raise a wry smile despite its flaws.