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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

GeekRex Quick Take: Keanu

The Buzz: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, best known for their Comedy Central sketch comedy series Key & Peele, headline their first feature film together. The film feature the duo as cousins who pose as drug dealers to get back a missing kitten, which sounds like a pretty clear parody of Keanu Reeves film John Wick, but apparently isn't.

What's Great About the Movie: I've never seen a film make better use of a kitten than Keanu. Though its appearances are only sprinkled throughout the movie, the filmmakers manage to weave meme-worthy shots of a tiny kitten in violent fight scenes and shootouts. It sounds like a small or silly thing, but it's genuinely impressive and hilarious, creating its own blend of absurdity. There's also a bizarre scene mid-movie with a fantastic guest appearance.

What's Not-So-Great About the Movie: Critical consensus on Keanu has been pretty forgiving, but it feels like a film that falls victim to the same issues plaguing SNL-sketch based films like A Night at the Roxbury or Superstar. Films based on concepts that work well in comedic short sketches are often grafted onto generic narratives with a mundane conflict and resolution - to the degree that the plot or arc of the movie feels like it butts in and interrupts the actual comedy. Keanu doesn't really escape that problem; the first 30-45 minutes of the film are solid, but once the gears of the plot really kick into motion, the laughs are sidelined.

Final Verdict: Big Key & Peele fans will probably find enough in the film to make it worthwhile, but it's not a movie that will be converting non-believers. This is one I'd save for a rainy day and a free viewing on cable.
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