Keanu seems like a running gag on Key & Peele which, with their show ending, got a grand sendoff.
Let me begin by saying that I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the stars back during their Mad TV days, and have pretty much since then only saw them in action when something they did went viral. So, for the most part, I had expectations, but they weren’t necessarily high. Which thankfully they weren’t for this movie more so reminds me of when they were on the last days of Mad TV than their current fame gained from their viral hits.
Main Storyline (with Commentary)
Rell (Jordan Peele) after a breakup is a mess. All he does is smoke weed, sleep, moan, and cry. On the other hand, his straight-laced cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) is a family man, the type of dad you’d expect on a sitcom. Yet, thanks to one little cat, these two go from nerdy Black guys to doing some gangsta $h!t.
Things To Note
At this point, why is Method Man still going by Method Man? It’s as weird as Ice Cube still going by his rap name. At this point, they do more acting than rapping so what is the point of using their old moniker?
Introducing – George Michael: As Rell and Clarence try to make a deal with Cheddar (Method Man) for Keanu, Clarence, under the guise of Shark Tank, one of the top assassins around, introduces some of Cheddar’s thugs to George Michael. Now, I want you to imagine some gangsters into rap, got tears on their eyes and stories of their grandma shooting them, listening to, and enjoying, George Michael. While it just made me chuckle, the white people in the audience were dying.
That Cat Was Cute: I don’t know what the cats name is, but dammit it makes me want to visit a local animal shop and consider buying a kitten. That is until I realized that Rell didn’t show how much of a pain having a cat could be.
Weak Story and Characters: For most movies or shows I review, if it is really bad or really good there is usually a long summary done when it comes to the main storyline. However, with this movie, it is so simple that honestly I guess Key and Peele just wanted a bigger paycheck so they didn’t want this to be a Comedy Central special. For truly, it seems like something which should have premiered on TV rather than in theaters.
Starting with the story, all the madness is over a cat. A good start for a comedy, but it becomes so weird how attached everyone gets to this cat and how people are willing to die and kill over it. On top of that, the idea of two straight-laced guys pretending to be gangsta and being allowed to see someone who is assumingly a kingpin is ridiculous. To the point where it goes beyond suspension of disbelief for the sake of comedy, and it leads you to wonder how much though and effort was put into this?
Especially once you start analyzing the characters. In general, there isn’t any complexity to these characters. Mind you, my point of reference for comedy is mostly Seth Rogen movies right now, which focus on the pains of officially becoming an adult, but something just seemed so underwhelming about every character. I mean, they all seemed so set in their basic description and barely evolved from there. Clarence was what some would consider an oreo, whose “black side” was a game to him, something which was shown once he got angry, and then as if he was bipolar he would snap back into Clarence. All the while, he has this subplot about his marriage not being in the best place, and him having a disrespectful daughter.
Then with Rell, from breakup, to falling in love with a cat, to crushing on one of Cheddar’s soldiers named Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish) I was questioning everything. I mean, we are shown the dude is a talented photographer, but aren’t really told if that is just a hobby or how he affords his rent. And yeah, little details like that may not matter in the big picture, but with jokes so weak that watching Ellen’s show for an hour may make you laugh more, you damn well better have a decent story and interesting characters.
It Just Feels Disappointing In General: Though, as noted below, I am familiar with Key and Peele, like many I’m used to seeing their greatest hits when something goes viral. So I largely based my expectations off of those sketches. With what is given however, the disappointment was strong. I was expecting, at the very least, something on the level of Let’s Be Cops in terms of having some familiar faces from TV make the transition to the big screen. But even with Key and Peele having stronger profiles, and more prolific careers than Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr., they aren’t even on their level.
On The Fence
On Some Gangsta $h!t: I am familiar with Key and Peele through Mad TV and a bit of Key and Peele, and while they have gone urban, gangster, or however you wish to put it, the whole concept of seeing these two act like that is still foreign to me. To the point where while, at first, it is kind of funny, eventually, the shtick gets old. Likely because, there isn’t this feeling that either Key or Peele, much less the thug characters, are showing anything interesting, new, or adding complexity with the thug stereotype. In many ways, while funny at first, it eventually fizzles to the point where you want to question how offensive this technically is? But then with Key and Peele being Black, so comes the question if Black people pretending to be thugs can be considered offensive? Much less, is this what Dave Chappelle was talking about in terms of him realizing he wasn’t no longer in on the joke or creating it, but was the joke? For maybe Key and Peele ain’t there yet.