Hollywood has made tons of movies centered around dogs, but not all that many about their arch nemesis – cats. Until now. The reason is probably cats are notoriously diva-like on the set and hard to work with. For Comedy Central sensations Key & Peele though, it is actually a kitten that steals the show, even though this comedy duo comes close to matching him.
For the record, it is really seven kittens that shared the title role of Keanu (named after the actor because Peele’s character is such a fan) since certain cats only do certain things. The Coen Brothers certainly learned that when they made a cat a main part of their film, Inside Llewyn Davis. As I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), this movie, despite extreme silliness and a little too much action, is a hoot whether you come as a Key & Peele fan or a cat lover. Dog aficionados might also get a few chuckles out of this one which follows in the tradition of great movie comedy teams playing innocent guys who get in a little over their heads. That is exactly what happens to peaceful cousins Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) and Rell (Jordan Peele) when a seemingly lost kitten turns up on Rell’s doorstep one day. Since Rell just was unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend, the kitten whom he names Keanu is just the right tonic. In fact it is love at first sight and he even makes Keanu the star of a calendar photo shoot in which kitty re-enacts famous movie scenes like The Shining, Mad Max: Fury Road and Fargo. What neither of these dudes knows though is that Keanu comes from a rather violent background and at the beginning of the film escapes from a shootout over a major drug deal. And unfortunately for Rell bad luck continues when Keanu is catnapped by a gangbanger named Cheddar (Method Man) and his crew.
One thing leads to another and the guys are able to track down the cat’s whereabouts, but Cheddar, renaming him New Jack, has also taken to the kitten formerly known as Keanu. They strike a deal with the devil by posing as gangbangers themselves and make a deal to take on what is essentially a suicide mission for Cheddar in return for the kitty. It gets very violent from there and more complicated as they find themselves in a growing and very perilous situation. For the middle part of the film Keanu is basically AWOL, but scenes with him are priceless and you really want more. I can’t wait for a sequel.
Key & Peele acquit themselves nicely in the tradition of teams from Abbott & Costello to Cheech & Chong and even Harold and Kumar. They are genuinely funny as they have proven time and again on the now defunct Comedy Central series. They have been well served here by Peele and Alex Ruben’s very amusing script and direction from Peter Atencio, who worked with the duo on their series. Will Forte, as a drug-induced but likable neighbor, gets some choice bits, and Keanu Reeves himself actually turns up as the voice of his namesake in a hallucinatory sequence. Fun Stuff all around. Two paws up. Producers are Peter Principato, Paul Young, Joel Zadak and Key & Peele. Warner Bros releases the MGM and New Line Cinema production today.
Do you plan to see Keanu? Let us know what you think.