For those of you who might live under a rock, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are the comedy duo that create, write, and host the show Key and Peele on Comdey Central. The show usually consists of 5 or so SNL-style shorts that are usually only about 5 minutes long at maximum. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the show, as the skits seem to be hit or miss in my opinion. That being said, they seem to really hit the nail on the head with at least one skit per episode, which I will find out about since they tend to go viral on YouTube.
Keanu came out a few weeks ago and has not been doing that great at the box office. It’s still being beaten by Mother’s Day and The Huntsman, which I assume are absolutely garbage films. I didn’t hear much chatter about this film (probably due to Captain America being the only movie worth talking about right now), but I did happen to see that its score on Rotten Tomatoes was relatively high (it currently sits at a 77%), especially for a comedy film. Key and Peele are very good writers, so my previous knowledge of them combined with this high score caused me to convince a few buddies of mine to go see this instead of seeing Civil War again. Let’s just say that none of us were happy that I made this judgement call.
Writing is probably the most important aspect of a comedy film, and Key and Peele disappointed me with this film. Keanu seems to be an hour and 40 minute long Key and Peele skit. It has its moments, but most of the film falls flat and seems like very lazy writing. Most of the story is either very predictable or just doesn’t make that much sense. But, like I said, the movie does have those classic Key and Peele moments that everyone loves, but not enough to save the movie from how stupid the rest of the film is.
Also, I think it’s high time we put an end to this myth that action-comedy movies are hard to do. We’ve had way too many great action-comedy movies for this to be an excuse anymore: Guardians of the Galaxy, Hot Fuzz, Tropic Thunder, and even True Lies are all excellent examples of how to do an action-comedy film right. These films all rely on their characters to bring out conflicts that produce humor on their own. Keanu really only relies on the ridiculousness of the plot and the two main characters to produce humor.
Key and Peele themselves are pretty good in this film I guess, since most of the good moments come from their classic dialogue that has made them famous on Comedy Central. There are also a few side characters that really shine in specific moments. But most of the time, people are just acting ridiculous and yelling at each other or trying way too hard.
The opening and closing action sequences are pretty decent to watch if you are able to get past the fact that two guys who may have never shot a gun in their lives are hitting trained mercenaries and gang members with every shot they fire while everyone else misses literally every shot.
The rest of the film is very repetitive as far as direction style. Like most comedy films, the visuals are not really focused on while there isn’t anything exciting happening on screen.
The soundtrack of this film actually plays a lot into the humor and plot of the film. It’s chock full of 80’s pop like Wham!, but also full of classic gangster rap. The juxtaposition between the two is pretty funny most of the time, though they may have taken much of this from Deadpool.
X-Factor: 2/10, no John Wick
For a plot that was definitely trying to play off the creativeness of John Wick, I’m very surprised that Keanu Reeves did not make an actual cameo in this film. Instead, Reeves voices the cat in a very cliched hallucination sequence after Key’s character takes some hard drugs. I think this film desperately needed something like a John Wick cameo to spice up the plot, because it really had nothing going for it.
Keanu, as I’ve said multiple times now, had its moments, but ultimately failed to keep me entertained for the entire film. While I definitely think Key and Peele are very entertaining and talented comedy writers/actors, I think their style really only suits short skits like those that appear on their show. The most frustrating part about Keanu is that somewhere, under all that filler and not funny bullcrap, there’s a really good short film that they could have done. But instead, they gave us this feature-length film that is about as entertaining as a box of kitty-litter.