Keanu (2016)

Director: Peter Atencio
Writer: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens
Cast: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jason Mitchell, Jamar Malachi Neighbors, Luis Guzmán, Will Forte, Nia Long, Rob Huebel, Madison Wolfe, Anna Faris, Keanu Reeves
Seen on: 7.10.2022

Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) and Rell (Jordan Peele) are cousins and have been friends for a long time. They are both in a bit of a funk, though. Clarence is a super-organized suburban dad who barely has fun anymore, and Rell just broke up with his girlfriend. But then he finds a kitten and he is in love again. The kitten, called Keanu, gets kidnapped though in a case of mistaken identity. And now Clarence and Rell find that they have to pretend to be super gangsters to get Keanu back from the people who took him.

I honestly thought that Keanu would be a spoof of John Wick (I am not exactly sure why – taken pet and Keanu were maybe the clues that my brain just ran with). It is not, and I have to admit that I was very disappointed with that, as well as the stoner comedy elements that I just don’t find that funny.

Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) and Rell (Jordan Peele) screaming and shooting guns. They are standing shoulder to shoulder and Keanu the kitten, wearnig a backwards baseball cap is sitting on their shoulders, one paw raised.

The film had a tough time with me, I will freely admit that. Not only did I have my (completely wrong) expectations, I’m also simply not its target audience. I got the distinct feeling that it is a film for Black men who enjoy action / drug movies and The Hangover. And that is not me. I do, however, enjoy kittens very much and Keanu is very cute.

That is not to say that Keanu was the only thing I could enjoy about the film (although the way he runs through the action, or the way everybody falls completely in love with him are probably the film’s best moments). There were definitely things that I found very funny – like the whole George Michael running gag (and that it meant a lot of his songs are included in the film doesn’t hurt either). But overall, these kind of out-of-control-night plots are just not my cup of tea.

Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) and Rell (Jordan Peele) looking very surprised. Rell is holding Keanu the kitten.

Key and Peele have good chemistry with each other and the familiarity between them that must come from working together for so many years, works very well for the film. There is a real sense of long-lasting friendship between Clarence and Rell that makes it clear why they would stick together in the way that they do. Unfortunately, it seems that the film only includes two women to kind of counteract this “bromance” energy – each of the men gets a romantic partner, but those women are given practically nothing to do and no real personality.

There are entertaining parts to the film, but in the end, it feels a bit empty and devoid of the emotional stakes – that should be easy to get with a cute kitten in the mix and that would be important to make the film more impactful. But maybe I’m just saying that because the film just doesn’t speak to me.

Keanu the kitten wearing a durag and a gold chain necklace.

Summarizing: not my kind of film.

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