There were a lot of expectations for this one. Key and Peele reinvigorated the sketch comedy TV show during a time when Portlandia already existed. It was fresh, it was funny, and their youtube videos have hundreds of millions of views.
So of course they were going to make a film, just like any budding star from SNL would. And with the pedigree behind both of them, the excitement was high.
Keanu is the namesake of the adorable kitten that Rell Williams (Jordan Peele) adopts after a particularly nasty breakup. In an attempt to cheer him up, Clarence (Keegan Michael-Key) takes him to a movie. While they’re out, Rell’s house is broken into, and Keanu is stolen.
They spend the rest of the weekend trying to infiltrate the street gang that took Keanu, by pretending to be the baddest guys in America.
Hijinks ensue, people die, and Rell and Clarence do their best to say the N-word like real gangsters would.
It’s amusing, at many moments. There’s an irresistible quality to Key and Peele. It’s the reason their show is so popular. They are funny, funny people.
But the movie is not great. It’s not even that good. The pacing is odd, the jokes tend to stretch. And it feels like a funny premise, taken to an extreme that is unwarranted. It also turns into a goofy movie right around the climax. It was already silly, but it felt a tad grounded in reality, and then it went full blown macgruber.
Which is disappointing, for us and for them. Because we were all so excited for their first movie. And it doesn’t live up to the hype that their show created. Maybe the next go around will be better. Regardless, it’s always pretty great seeing Key and Peele riff off each other.
2 out of 4 stars.