Comedy Central alums Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, aka Key & Peele, take cat humor into uncharted territory with Keanu. Their film debut swings from riotously funny to oddly dull in stretches. A few scenes start off cleverly, but then milk the premise to blandness. That said, the humorous bits are slices of comedy gold. They're strong enough to lift Keanu to a positive recommendation. The climax is hysterical. I almost cried from laughing so hard.
The film opens with two psychopathic gunmen, The Allentown Brothers, also played by Key & Peele; massacring drug dealers in a cocaine factory. The leader's adorable kitten escapes the bullet flying fray. It traverses the streets of Los Angeles until it ends up randomly on the doorstep of Rell (Peele). He's a pot-smoking, movie fan boy, languishing in misery from being dumped. Rell instantly falls for the stray and names him Keanu after action star Keanu Reeves, who gets a fun cameo.
Rell's best friend and cousin, Clarence (Key), is a straight-laced family man and huge fan of George Michael's music. They come back from a movie to find Rell's house ransacked. The only thing stolen is the beloved Keanu. Absurd events lead them to the strip club of a gangster named Cheddar (Method Man). He has Keanu, now dressed in a do-rag and gold chain. Rell and Clarence's laughable attempt to be ghetto criminals result in their being mistaken for The Allentown Brothers. This in turn leads the cousins on an insane, action-packed odyssey to recover Keanu.
Every scene involving the kitten is pretty damn funny. I have to give Key & Peele the golf clap for pulling that off. The cat gimmick never gets old. It also helps that the kittens that play Keanu are disgustingly cute. You can't help but fall for the little ball of fur. The kitten takes center stage amid chaos and lunacy. It'll steal audience hearts just as much as the characters going through hell to get it back.
Key & Peele are a seasoned comedy team. They play well off each other and are initially sharp with the satirical aspects of this film. The problem is that they run with the satire for too long. They should have cut ten minutes from this film. It would have been short, but a far superior comedy. A few celebrity cameos also suffer in this regard.
Keanu is better than not. It's a little too zany to appeal to more serious filmgoers. Although it's unlikely that audience would ever watch this anyway. Children may be inclined to see this film because of the kitten. That's definitely a bad idea. Keanu earns its R-rating with heaping doses of vulgarity, nudity, bloody violence, and drug use.