Review: Key and Peele’s ‘Keanu,’ an action comedy, does not disappoint

“Keanu” brings out Key and Peele’s impressive and hilarious comedic voices.


Directed by Peter Atencio

Starring Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man

Rated R

“Keanu,” the new action-comedy film from the hilarious duo behind Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele,” has a not-so-secret weapon: an adorable kitten.

As a people, we spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet watching cats do pretty much anything in the name of cuteness. So take the two very funny comics — Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele — and pair them with a little fuzzy friend, and you have a formula for a sure-fire hit. And “Keanu” does not disappoint.

The film, written by Peele and Alex Rubens, opens with two mysterious killers as they invade a drug factory and systematically take down everything with much aplomb, doing flips and other fancy moves. It’s here that we meet our titular feline, the drug lord’s pet, who runs throughout the scene before finally escaping.

The cat ends up at the door of the recently-dumped Rell (Peele), who replaces the hole in his heart with the stray kitty, which he names Keanu.

Rell and his buddy Clarence (Key) are nerdy, middle class pals who spend their time arguing over whose hometown is tougher based on which had the meaner bullies. When Rell’s home is robbed — and Keanu stolen — they duo will seemingly stop at nothing to find the cat. Their path takes them deep into a dangerous world of drugs and guns, where they have to pretend to be more thuggish than their geeky demeanors imply.

Along the way they encounter Cheddar (Method Man), who mistakes Rell and Clarence for the two mysterious killers and enlists their help with a drug deal in exchange for the stolen cat, which he renamed New Jack.

Between the intense action scenes and the unbridled comedic moments, the film even manages to have a message. It tackles stereotyping in clever and funny ways, such as Clarence trying to turn a group of hardened, gun-toting killers onto the music of George Michael.

“Keanu” shows what fans of the Comedy Central show already knew about Key and Peele — that these are two impressive and hilarious comedic voices, and their work is like catnip to anyone who likes to laugh.

Scott A. Rosenberg