Film: Keanu

keanuThe zany action parody Keanu (2016) contains numerous hilarious scenes involving an adorable kitten running in slow motion through perilous situations. If that isn’t enough to lure you, I’ll describe the rest of the movie: LA pals Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) and Rell (Jordan Peele) are in different places in life. Married, square Clarence is trying to find himself, while stoner artist Rell has just suffered a depressing breakup. Rell is attempting to recover with the help of a stray kitten he names Keanu, who turns his life around—until his house is robbed and Keanu goes missing. Together, Rell and Clarence set out to find and rescue Keanu, comically embroiling themselves in the affairs of dangerous drug dealers.

Fans of Key and Peele will recognize the sketch comedy feel of Keanu, which stitches together amusing situations and sequences into an engaging comic narrative that plays with action and crime world tropes. Although the scenarios lean a smidge too heavily into their posturing, sexist cliches at times, both stars are in fine form, and are supported ably by the likes of Anna Faris, Will Forte, Luis Guzmán, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, and others. But the true star of the film, and of its premise, is Keanu—a painfully cute kitten who serves as a particularly inspired, absurdist MacGuffin. If you’re weirdly immune to feline charms and the manic comic energy of Key and Peele, you might skip this one, but I got a kick out of it; it’s hardly high art, but it’s a genuinely funny diversion.

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