I cannot tell if comedies just aren’t really my thing or if comedy lovers just have really low standards. I just saw Keanu this morning, and I was fairly disappointed. Key and Peele have made me laugh before, so I was hoping that this would be a comedy that would at least be recommendable. Instead, it was just a comedy that was only slightly less bad than the rest of the comedies I’ve seen this year.
This movie is basically like an elongated Key and Peele sketch on their TV show. What I mean by that is that many of their sketches take a premise, humorous or not, and more or less beat it to death with absurdity and hyperbole. A few examples I can think of is when Key was playing an overbearing gay guy, when they’re listing off ridiculous black football player names, or when Peele was being a cliche action-hero-in-retirement. In Keanu, the beaten-to-death premise is that Key and Peele are black men who are obviously not “thug”, but since they’re around a lot of rough, drug dealing “thugs”, they must try to act as gangster as possible but fail miserably. Personally, I find this premise to be chuckle worthy at best, but even if I was in love with the premise, there is no funny premise in the world that I love enough to make thirty-plus jokes about in one sitting.
Eventually the movie became a test in patience. Sure some of the jokes were humorous, but it got old really fast, and if you don’t like the premise enough to make a massive amount of jokes about, then this movie does not really have much else to offer.
Oh right, there’s also a kitten in this movie. The movie basically treats “Keanu” as an afterthought. The real foundation of this movie rests upon the wacky gangster adventures of Key and Peele, and the kitten simply serves as a reason for why the story is happening in the first place. This fact really wouldn’t be a huge problem if A. The rest of the movie was entertaining anyway, and B. The movie wasn’t named after the cat in the first place.
Keanu is also yet another movie that seems to have a need to explain some of their jokes to the audience. The biggest example of this is going to get spoiler-ish, so skip to the next paragraph if you do not want to be spoiled. <SPOILER> So Key’s character ends up taking a massive hit off of a hardcore drug and starts hallucinating. In part of his hallucination, he sees Keanu, and Keanu starts talking to him. When Keanu starts talking to Key, I quickly realized that he was being voiced by Keanu Reeves, and I thought “Oh, wow, that’s actually pretty subtle and clever.” However, in the next three seconds Key exclaims “OH WOW, IS THAT KEANU REAVES VOICE?!” and from that moment on, I was extremely disappointed. Instead of this being a subtle thing the audience could pick up on and find additional enjoyment out of, the movie feels that it needs to shove the joke in your face. You know, just in case you didn’t get it. </SPOILER>
This movie also does away with almost any actual consequence to people’s actions, and when your comedy is basically about two civilized dudes trying to blend in with gangsters who deal drugs, take drugs, and kill people, removing all consequence whatsoever makes things really tired, cliche, and unrealistic.
Bottom line is, if you really love Key and Peele’s TV show, you will probably really love this movie because it’s basically just one extended Key and Peele sketch; but if you enjoy intelligence in your comedies, then I would look elsewhere. It appears that I am still in search for a great comedy of 2016 because I have yet to find one, and I’m giving this movie a 4 out of 10.