MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Jordan Peele as RELL WILLIAMS / OIL DRESDEN
Keegan-Michael Key as CLARENCE GOOBRIL / SMOKE DRESDEN
Tiffany Haddish as HI-C
Method Man as CHEDDAR
Darrell Britt-Gibson as TRUNK
Jason Mitchell as BUD
Jamar Malachi Neighbors as STITCHES
Luis Guzmán as BACON
Will Forte as HULKA
Nia Long as HANNAH
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Peter Atencio
BY KEVIN CARR
Earlier this year, comedy champs Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele got a shot at their first feature film. “Keanu” is the result, and in a way, it’s also a shame. Not because it’s a bad movie but because it was such an out-of-the-box film that it defied categorization.
The story is about a man named Rell (Peele), who is heartbroken after his girlfriend leaves him. Rell finds solace in a stray kitten that he names Keanu. However, when a group of drug dealers break into his place and kidnap Keanu, Rell goes on the warpath with his yuppie suburban friend Clarence (Key). The two of them go independently undercover into gangland, impersonating a ruthless hit team, trying to save Keanu from being a gangster cat.
While the initial idea is something that works in a blurb, it’s such a commitment of absurdity that the film steps a little too far outside of the mainstream to be a big hit. However, this is exactly the kind of movie that can do quite well on home video in spite of a lackluster theatrical run. Think of “Keanu” as targeting a similar audience as a “Harold & Kumar” movie because it’s certainly the kind of movie that benefits from a few drinks or whatever else your poison is.
In fact, watching the film again on Blu-ray gave me a new appreciation for it. When I saw it in the movie theater, it took a while to get acclimated to the film itself because the plot and story is so mundanely bizarre. In fact, the set-up feels more like a bit in the “Key and Peele” sketch comedy show on Comedy Central. But unlike many of the films spawned from “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s, “Keanu” holds together better as a movie and actually manages to tell a story rather than be a long-form sketch.
This has the effect of making the movie a little hard to connect to, but it’s a testament to Key and Peele’s comedy styling that they were able to tell a somewhat compelling plot to carry the absurd humor. And in this sense, the film has some hilarious moments and brilliant deliveries.
I watched this film with my teenagers when we got the Blu-ray, and it was great fun. Having the control of your own environment at home really makes the experience work. Key and Peele certainly spearhead the cast, but we also have some great performances as well by the likes of Luis Guzmán, a ghettoized Will Forte and Anna Faris.
If you missed it in theaters, and you like bizarre out-of-the-box comedies, check out “Keanu” on Blu-ray, DVD or On Demand. Just make sure you don’t have to drive anywhere afterwards until you sober up.
Unfortunately, there’s very skimpy special features available on this Blu-ray, and that’s a shame considering how much improvisational comedy that can come from this cast. The only special features include a slate of deleted scenes which are more entertaining and funny than most other films, a gag reel for some on-set humor and a tongue-in-cheek featuette called “Keanu: My First Movie,” which features a slate of advice from some of the veteran actors to the title kitty cat himself.