Fans of the acclaimed ridiculous, bizarre and hilarious “Key & Peele” sketch show may surprised by the somewhat conventional action-comedy “Keanu” (opening in theaters nationwide April 29). This pretty funny comedy lacks the wall-to-wall absurdity of the duo’s sketch show – but it retains just enough of their outlandish humor to distinguish itself from so many other bland action comedies.
In short: Best friends Rell and Clarence (Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key) desperately track down Rell’s beloved lost kitten Keanu — but they quickly find themselves surrounded by violent gang members. Method Man, Nia Long and Luis Guzmán also star. (Watch the trailer)
Like many “Key & Peele” sketches, the premise of “Keanu” is rooted in a fundamentally simple scenario that rapidly spirals into the absurd. The joy of “Keanu” is watching a pair of pretty normal and slightly eccentric nerds descend deeper and deeper into the gang culture … all for the sake of rescuing a very adorable kitten.
While the draw of “Keanu” is its overtly silly premise, this film (in execution) is a surprisingly pretty standard action comedy — albeit one that is inspired and, at times, incredibly hilarious. While this comedy is founded in the silly lengths the duo are willing to go to save a kitten, the weakness of this film is in its connective tissue. This film often gets stuck in scenes that simply extend a little bit too long (ie, the duo getting to know a quartet of gang members or Key exposing gang members George Michael). “Keanu” feels like a skit that is stretched out to the length of a feature film — and it’s only the brilliant comedic timing of Key & Peele and an impossibly adorable kitten that prevents “Keanu” from losing too much comedic momentum. It never slows to the point of stalling out into boredom … but it sure comes close at times.
Final verdict: “Keanu” is a pretty funny and odd action comedy that hums along. It keeps the laughs coming at a steady clip and adds a light dusting of the trademark outlandish “Key & Peele” humor their fans love.
“Keanu” opens in theaters nationwide April 29. This action comedy has a running time of 100 minutes and is rated R for violence, language throughout, drug use and sexuality/nudity.