Only cute and cuddly thing about this comedy is the kitten

Only cute and cuddly thing about this comedy is the kitten

‘Keanu’

Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele

Directed by: Peter Atencio

Rated: R

 

This past weekend, comedian Larry Wilmore emceed the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and wound up in a controversy over his use of an incendiary racial slur directed at President Obama. Anyone objecting to what was obviously meant as a joke — albeit a not so good one — would find “Keanu” even more objectionable because that same word is used at least 50 times, maybe even double that. I lost count.

For what purpose, I don’t know. Maybe it was funny the first couple of times, but after that it was kind of like going to a nudist colony. Once you’ve seen a few people without their clothes on, it kind of loses its impact. But the hottest comic duo of the moment is Key and Peele, two African American comedians, and this is their movie, and that’s they way they roll, I guess.

Keanu, a weird nod to actor Keanu Reeves, is actually a precious little kitty and the most innocent creature in this raunchy R-rated comedy. He belongs to Rell (Jordan Peele), an affable slacker, whose tightly wound cousin, Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key), is the direct opposite of laid back.

When the kitty is cat-napped in a bungled apartment toss by a couple of drug dealing hit men, the two cousins masquerade as the hit men known as the “Allentown Brothers” to rescue Keanu. This leads them to a drug kingpin known as Cheddar (Method Man) and his gang. To prove their worth, Rell and Clarence have to participate in several dangerous drug deals to get the kitten back.

It’s ridiculous, but so are Key and Peele, and this is not without some laughs, mostly directed at the two trying to act like they are stone cold killers. But a lot of the funny falls apart or never even comes together, and this feels like it never fully formed as a cohesive comedy.

It’s just a bunch of scenarios thrown together like an extended skit, and that does not necessarily make a movie. There are some real nuggets, like Clarence’s obsession with pop singer George Michael, that leads to an impromptu sing-a-long with Cheddar’s gang members, but there is also a lot of violence of the nature of a Sam Peckinpah movie. Blood spattered crime scenes and hails of gunfire seem incongruent to this, but it is about the drug biz.

I like these guys. Even on a bad day, or in a crummy movie, they’re funny. So they get a pass for this. But I hope the next one is sillier and less bloody. And since no kitties (all seven of them) were unharmed in the making of this, meow to that.

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