Keanu Blu-ray Review
Rell (Jordan Peele) has just been dumped by his girlfriend. He has drawn all the curtains in his house, shunning the outside world because “nothing makes sense anymore.” Worse, he feels like Apollo Creed in whichever one Creed died in.
Appearing on his doorstep one day is a kitten, which he names Keanu (whether it’s after Reeves or it actually does mean “cool breeze” in Hawaiian is never really explored). It’s just the sort of piece of happiness Rell needs, with the mere presence of the feline bringing about a level of productivity that his cousin, Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key), is surprised by (read: photographing a kitty calendar).
When the boys come home from the movies, they find Keanu is missing, its tag left behind. With a lead from the neighborhood drug dealer (Will Forte, Fox’s THE LAST MAN ON EARTH), Rell and Clarence head out to find the cat, who has been stolen from a gang called the 17th Street Blips, comprised of thugs booted from the Bloods and Crips, led by a fellow named Cheddar (rapper Method Man). Rell and Clarence are quickly aware that in order to rescue Keanu, they will have to infiltrate the gang.
KEANU will undoubtedly draw in those that enjoyed Key and Peele’s eponymous show on Comedy Central, which aired from 2012-2015 and earned 11 Primetime Emmy nominations during its run. But the level of amusement here may be more closely linked to how long they can see jokes stretched out for. It’s not likely that any of the sketches on KEY & PEELE could legitimately be turned into a full-length movie, which is exactly how KEANU feels at points. The plot and characters here would work best as a skit, where it doesn’t have the time to beat its jokes to the ground. (The recurring inclusion of George Michael is worn out the first four or five times; the Anna Faris cameo practically turns into a supporting performance.)
The sense here is that screenwriters Peele and Alex Rubens (another KEY & PEELE alum) ran out of ideas at some point while writing and so had to hammer what they could until it spread into a passable length. Combine this with the complete lack of subtlety—one example turns up in the titular kitty: instead of just letting the cat be named Keanu and having that be the joke, they force it to have a voice provided by, yes, Keanu Reeves—and it shows just how much Peele, Rubens, Key and director Peter Atencio (who directed all 53 episodes of KEY & PEELE) fit better in the sketch comedy game.
KEANU, overall, just isn’t clever, even though its stars can often be. While there are certainly some funny moments—the boys stall a robbery by suggesting the gang get to know one another by revealing two personal things about themselves (one of Rell’s: “I went to an exclusive screening of The Blair Witch Project…before we knew if it was real.”)—they are too few. So many of the movie’s gags are weak and lazy (an early one: the boys are listening to “F*ck tha Police,” only to have the cops roll up next to them), and by the time the punchlines have all been exhausted, KEANU isn’t a display of growth, but rather a highlight of limitations.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are strong and colors are nice.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Dialogue and sound effects (especially during the action scenes) come through without notable flaws.
Keanu: My First Movie (3:05): Keanu the cat sits down for conversations and pep talks.
Deleted Scenes (15:13): There are eight here, which can only be viewed as a whole. They are: “Substitute Teacher,” “I Don’t Think That God Works Like That,” “It’s Not Over,” “Dungeons and Dragons,” “Keys,” “Ain’t Gonna Be No Tomorrow,” I Like to Use My Hands” and “Dirty Nails, Dirty Dick.”
Gag Reel (5:39)