Keanu: The Reason Those Cat Videos Were Worthwhile

For a long time, cats got the short end of the stick. Actually, they didn’t even get that since dogs needed it to play fetch. Man’s best friends are playful, loyal and endearingly stupid, which is why they always stole the spotlight from other pets. With films like Air Bud, Lassie and 101 Dalmatians, who could blame them? They were the ideal companion, while cats were pushed aside and stereotyped as evil.

And then YouTube happened.

Suddenly, people became enraptured by cats barking like dogs, tabbies jumping (and falling) from one ledge to another, and tiny kittens asserting territorial dominance over their human pets. The tides were finally turning in this silent war between animals for our affection. Keanu is just further proof that cats are one paw closer to world domination.

In all seriousness, Keanu is a smart and entertaining parody of revenge thrillers. By featuring the most adorable kitten in cinematic history, it also capitalizes on this cat craze.

Starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele from Key & Peele fame, Keanu is the story of a Rell (Peele) and his friend Clarence (Key) as they journey into the world of gangs and drug lords to find Rell’s stolen kitten, Keanu.  

Comedy is extremely subjective. It is incredibly hard to make a broad group of people laugh in unison. That being said, I found this film very funny. If you are a fan of Key & Peele, you will enjoy it. If you have never seen Key & Peele and are still on the fence about the film, watch one of the show’s sketches on YouTube. If you like what you see, you will have a fun time at the theater. 

However, Keanu is not just a 98-minute-long Key & Peele sketch with a larger budget. Although the humor is similar, the film has an actual story. It may be absurd, but it is well-told and filled with charming characters that are more than simple caricatures. The bits of action compliment the comedy and the ending is satisfying and promising.

Key, Peele and the seven kittens playing Keanu are what this movie needed to be incredible for it to work. And they are. The kittens steal every scene they are in and the two comedians have the crowd laughing from start to end. Yet, they do not carry the film alone. The supporting cast, which includes Tiffany Haddish, Nia Long, Jason Mitchell and Method Man to name a few, give equally wonderful performances.  

One specific scene does drag, but the film does a fine job shifting back and forth between that with one of the funniest scenes in the film, preventing audiences from getting bored. The movie is also a little inconsistent with characters’ obsessions with Keanu. There are moments where he is treated as an afterthought.

If Keanu is the product of all those hours lost to watching kittens doing nothing, then I consider it time well spent. The film is a mixture of lighthearted fun and sheer madness. Don’t be a dog person. Watch it.

Keanu was released April 29, 2016.