KEANU (9 out of 10) Directed by Peter Atencio; Written by Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens; Starring Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Will Forte, Jason Mitchell, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Luis Guzmán, Nia Long, Rob Huebel; Unrated at time of screening, but likely R for violence, drug use, nudity; In wide release April 29, 2016.
A tiny kitten is at the center of a shootout that leaves a local drug lord dead, and finds his way into the hands of Jordan Peele, who is recovering from a breakup. Naming the cute kitten Keanu (he really is adorable), he quickly becomes the center of his universe. So when his house is robbed in a case of mistaken identity and Keanu taken, Key and Peele unite to get him back.
They repress their mild-mannered natures and take on the personas of Tektonic and SharkTank, pretending to be a pair of ninja-like hit men responsible for the death of dozens of people. But the local drug lord holding Keanu won't give him up unless our boys help show some of his crew how to be truly gangster and help deliver a new designer drug to some of his clients.
And thus, Keanu the kitty becomes the cutest macguffin ever in the history of these sorts of mistaken identity thrillers and action comedies.
This is truly funny. It's Key and Peele at their absolute best. And unlike some of their sketch comedy, which due to its very nature, can sometimes run a joke into the ground, the film's script never dwells too long on a joke but leaves the audience wanting more. A specific scene involving Key teaching these young gangsters about how "street" and "gangsta" George Michael is particularly is great. While it runs long, it never goes too far. And every joke lands and every one helps move the story along.
This isn't just a great comedy. It's also a great action movie that also makes sure you know they think it's hilarious to slow down epic scenes of gunplay and play dramatic music as a cute little kitty outruns the bad guys. Like the best internet cat videos, it never gets old.
Key and Peele also do what they do best: skewer racial and cultural constructs (and in this case concepts of masculinity, feminimity and misogyny-- including those that exist in hip hop culture), so there's a serious side to this silly movie about a cute kitty.
But ultimately, you're just here for the funny. And it delivers in spades.
9 out of 10