First off, I’ll admit the name threw me. I mean, there’s literally only one thing you associate with Keanu, and that’s Keanu Reeves. But let’s make this clear. He’s not in this movie. However, the cat which this movie is focused around a is named Keanu, with a wink at Reeve’s prior pet revenge film John Wick.
The premise is a unique one. Two bumbling guys pose as bad assed drug dealers in order to save an adorable kitten that seems to leave tragedy in its wake. Despite the ridiculous premise, it’s actually buyable because the leads are that charming and the cat is ridiculous cute. Add gold chains and a dew rag to ridiculous cute, and you have a kitten, that even the hardest core thug will fall in love with.
This is weird for me to say, because in theory, this movie should be everything I hate. Not only do I hate cats, I never particularly liked Key & Peele. They’re a real hit or miss for me, but this feels like one of their sketches that was a complete hit, because these guys had me laughing throughout.
It’s been a long time since this has happened to me with a comedy. I consider myself comedy desensitized because I see so many movies. As a result, I can understand when something is humorous in a pragmatic way, without actually laughing. Yeah, I know I’m a real bucket of laughs to go to the movies with. But rarely is something so funny that it catches me by surprise and makes me really laugh. Generally, if that happens once in a movie, I call that movie good.
I lost count of how many times Keanu made me do that. Maybe it’s the adorable premise (you haven’t felt heartwarming until you see a lot of really scary guys fighting over a really cute cat), or the way Key and Peele play off each other, but the entire thing is endearing and hilarious at the same time.
Another thing to note is the excellent and understated cameos. Anna Farris pokes fun at herself as a katana wielding drug addict. Method Man also does a good job of playing tough yet vulnerable bad guy Cheddar.
But it’s the two stars who own the show. They don’t develop as characters. Instead, they’re genuinely nice from the beginning and never turn to the ‘nice guy goes bad’ cliché in the end. It’s a refreshing change of pace for a fish out of water comedy like this.
Of course, it’s not for the easily offended, but I will say this. These guys never make a joke for the sake of being offensive; instead, they try stay pretty true to life, stereotypes and all. Well, as true to life as a crazy story like this could get.
Keanu is coming in at a respectable 3rd at the box office, holding its own against big budget blockbusters The Jungle Book and The Huntsman; Winter’s War. The movie has earned its spot at the top, and is easily a great choice if you’re looking to laugh.
WE GIVE IT: 4.5 STARS!