Film Reviews

KEANU

By • Apr 29th, 2016 •

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The poster star of KEANU just has a brief cameo. I wanted more Keanu.

Retired cinematic hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) would be throwing coins at Rell (Jordan Peele) and Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) for their determined pursuit of the drug gang who “abducted” kitten Keanu.

Keanu was the emotional gift that arrived at Rell’s door immediately after his girlfriend dumped him over his confirmed lack of ambition.

I manifested 4 or 5-week old Loki who appeared outside my door two years ago. There is a thing people never tell you about rescue animals. They wind up costing – in medical bills – the price of a hand-coddled, very expensive top quality Bengal kitten.

I have not watched the much-publicized and hailed sketch comedy series “Key & Peele.” So this comedy duo’s humor and established characters were new to me. They are incredibly warm and, after years of being a team, have an easy-going familiarity that translates on screen.

Keanu may have rescued Rell from a good reason to smoke pot on his sofa all day long, but he began life as the pet of a drug lord. Rell has a new reason to get off the sofa. He is doing a calendar of Keanu posed in iconic movie scenes.

As soon as I saw the skyscraper poster for KEANU, I emailed a smaller copy to my friend Chuck Walker, a Photoshop master, and asked him to replace movie Keanu with my kitten Nero. Can you see the difference? Nero has stage presence.

Technically, Keanu belongs to drug lord Cheddar (Method Man). According to a clue from Rell’s next door neighbor and pot dealer Hulka (Will Forte), perhaps Keanu is now ensconced in Cheddar’s drug den. Clarence is a secure middle-class husband living the white man’s life. Drug gangsters, rap, and New Jack City lingo are foreign landscapes to him. Rell is just too lazy to bother with black gangster stylings. So they invent thug characters for themselves based on Iceberg Slim’s books. They call themselves Tectonic and Shark Tank.

Finding their way to Cheddar’s strip club lair in a bad part of town, they demand to meet him. He is holding precious Keanu. Cheddar mistakes them for two notorious ghost-hitmen who recently gunned down his rival’s drug operation and killed everyone. Their supposed killing spree allows for some leeway for their poorly thought-out, new-found personas.

Cheddar will give them back Keanu only after they deliver a huge package of heroin to movie star Anna Faris. He doesn’t trust them so he sends his lieutenants along. Rell takes a liking to Cheddar’s tough-talking Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish).

While Rell a.k.a. Shark Tank goes into Anna Faris’s house, Clarence a.k.a. Tectonic waits in his car with the other guys. When they play Clarence’s music, he is forced to create a thug mystic out of George Michaels.

It is a silly premise but it works as an introduction to Key and Peele. Who doesn’t love a kitten? I especially liked Darrell Britt-Gibson. Key has a real sweet personality that comes across. He is committed to his confused nice-guy character. Peele is more mature. Neither actor plays silly. While the scenario is absurd, it works as a take on the theme. Written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens and directed by Peter Atencio, KEANU is rated R. By the way, I felt cheated, the kitten star has a cameo.

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/.

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at victoria.alexander.lv@gmail.com.

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