Keanu Movie Review


Keanu Movie Review
Jordan Peele tries to make a kitten calendar in, Keanu


Turning a skit from a popular television show into a big screen adaptation, can prove to be more difficult than it's worth. Since Saturday Night Live (SNL) is the king of those types of adaptations, they are the perfect example to establish my point. For every good movie that they've produced (The Blues Brothers, Wayne's World), you got double that with some mediocre (Coneheads, The Ladies Man) down to painful films (It's Pat, Superstar). And aside from A Night at the Roxbury (which is still hilarious), the rest of SNL's movie collection isn't even worth mentioning. More often than not, some ideas should just stay where they originate and not try to be more than they are. 


SNL's rival show from Fox for about fourteen years (1995-2009), was the popular Mad TV; A show that brought us the comedic coolness of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Apparently they clicked fairly quickly because they've been working together ever since.

Their show Key & Peele was a clever and funny social commentary on subjects ranging from celebrities to racial stereotypes. Along with the guy who directed every single episode of their series (Peter Atencio), they decided to take the big screen route. Key & Peele's first full-length feature presentation is the action/comedy, Keanu; A film that feels more like a stretched out skit from their show, than an actual movie.

Yes, I finally got to my point. Is this film funny? Yes. Is it also well shot? Yes again. Am I going to continue to ask myself questions in my own reviews? Most definitely. The problem with Keanu is that even though it has a cool premise, it doesn't mean that it's enough to last for ninety-eight minutes. The characters either try too hard or not enough, the plot is beyond rational, and some of the conclusions are never explained and/or lazily dealt with. 

Luckily, Key & Peele have a great dynamic. Key plays the self-identity repressed cousin of an angry/depressed Peele. Together they're both more white friendly than Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air at a polo gathering. There's a jittery paranoia between them that keeps the film fun and less heavy handed. Will Forte (MacGruber) as Peele's dookie-braided weed dealing next door neighbor, is symbolic of this entire film; Funny but not as hilarious as it should be. Something's missing from this story.

Could it be the "blink and you'll miss her" short scenes from Nia Long (Friday) as Key's wife? Is it the hard then soft approach of Method Man's (How High) gang leader? Or is it that the main attraction (Keanu) has the best parts of this film, but is barely involved? Tiffany Haddish (New Girl), Rob Huebel (The League), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), and Luis Guzman (Yes Man), round out the rest of noteworthy actors involved, yet they're mostly throw away characters that add little to the film. At least some of the action is cool though, and if there are any George Michael (Wham!, Faith) fans out there, then Keanu's a movie for you.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of, Keanu

The Good- G.M.'s Father Figure can make even a hardcore gangbanger weep, everything Keanu, and the "Holy Shit!" dream sequence. It's totally Keanu Reeves (The Matrix) approved as well.

The Bad- Anna Faris' (Scary Movie) cameo scene, felt forced and preposterous. Which it actually ended up being. So there.

The Ugly- Third act problems! A Scarface style shoot out, all loose ends conveniently snipped, a cliche character twist, and now an orange jumpsuit is supposed to make people believe that you are hard? Ugh.

Final Thoughts

Keanu is an average comedy with a some cool ideas. It's much better than Get Hard, but it can't compete with more experienced action comedies like Deadpool and Kingsman: The Secret Service. It's worth seeing for its adorably titled main character and for a couple of scenes, however you should save your money and wait for home viewing. Stay after the end credits for more stupidity. I really wanted this to be epically funny, but maybe Key & Peele are better left to staying on the small screen. That way their ideas won't seem so thin. Except for the kitten calendar; That should be a gold mine.
Rating- 5.5 out of 10

Keanu (2016)
R | 1h 40min | Comedy | 29 April 2016 (USA)
Friends hatch a plot to retrieve a stolen kitten by posing as drug dealers for a street gang.

Director: Peter Atencio
Writers: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens
Stars: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish



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