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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Keanu Review

Wassup Pussycat?

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, of Comedy Central's "Key & Peele" fame, make their big-screen debut in "Keanu". Despite its feline co-star, the movie doesn't always land on its feet.

A kitten escapes the opening Matrix-style shootout scene, and ends up on the doorstep of broken-hearted and stoned Rell (Peele), who names it Keanu. He is instantly smitten by this kitten, as is everyone whose path it crosses. When it's stolen, Rell goes in search of it with his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key), whose wife (Nia Long) is away on a throwaway subplot.

Rell and Clarence (dubbing themselves "Tectonic" and "Shark Tank") navigate the criminal world as Keanu gets passed between drug lords. They fall in with Cheddar (Method Man), leader of "The 17th Street Blips" (rejects from the Bloods and Crips), and gang members Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish), and Bud (Jason Mitchell).

The thoroughly non-gangsta Rell and Clarence being out of their element is the main source of laughs (to prove their hardness they argue over who's been beaten up by bigger people). Though it may be funny the first time, this kind of scenario gets repeated as if the screenwriters (Peele and Alex Rubens) thought it had nine lives.

The music of George Michael is an honorary character, as Clarence spends much of the movie singing his praises to gang members (turns out everyone needs a "father figure").

Directed by Peter Atencio, "Keanu" lets Key and Peale code-switch and poke fun at racial stereotypes in ways fans will find familiar. With its plot stretched whisker-thin, however, the movie isn't more than an extended sketch. That might not be enough, unless you too are just looking for a little pussy.

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