Keanu
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Keanu

Without a doubt live and exceptionally tense times, so it’s only natural that occasionally we want to temporarily turn off the higher reasoning portion of our brain, and watch a movie that is indubitably ridiculous. The plot may be completely absurd with the level of humor hovering around something that would be commonly found in her grade school play yard. Earlier this year such a film had been released that is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, ‘Keanu’. Despite the first thought that might pop into your mind. This has nothing to do with the actor was taking a telephone booth through time or for the ultimate battle against Deus ex machina. Rather, the titular subject has appeared in record-breaking number of online videos, not of a pornographic nature, a cute little kitten. There is an aspect about movies that little if any cognitive thought to enjoy. In order to be successful, it is necessary for them to be created and executed by extremely intelligent and talented artist. Fortunately, this movie had a well-honed comic duo; Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Currently they are best known for this sketch comedy show aptly named, ‘Key and Peele’. If you haven’t seen this series take a chance and make it a point to log into Hulu or some other subscription service and check it out. As with any comedy show dependent upon rapid-fire sketches, there will be hits and misses as to what will elicit laughs from any individual. Much of the material is farcical, but if you do manage to look a little closer at the content you will see that it contains a significant amount of social and political commentary. Still going strong after five seasons, a portion of the comedy is based on racial stereotyping but no matter what the amount of melanin is produced by your epidermis is still going to be able to find a consistent source of laughter. Besides the spots, the director, Peter Atencio and screenwriter, Alex Rubens, have all held significant roles in the success of the television series. This translates to a creative team that has years of experience working together to ensure that the audience is laughing heartily.

Smoke (Jordan Peele) and Oil Dresden (Keegan-Michael Key) are professional hitmen operating under the nom de guerre of the ‘Allentown Boys’. Our first glimpse of the pair is that they are completing an assignment. After entering a drug processing plant owned and operated by a major Mexican cartel efficiently eliminating everyone in sight, including the boss of the operation, King Diaz (Ian Casselberry), leaving just one survivor the boss’ cat, Iglesias. Utilizing a plot contrivance that would only be attempted within the context of a farce, by an amazing coincidence the shows up two weeks later at the front door of Rell Williams, also portrayed by Mr. Peele. Having just been dumped by his girlfriend Mr. Williams is in a particularly vulnerable state of mind and takes an immediately liking to the tiny kitten, bringing it inside and naming a Keanu. His cousin, Clarence Goobril, who in an amazing coincidence is played by Mr. Key, comes over to lift his friend’s spirit and winds up becoming attached to the newly renamed kitten Two weeks later, Clarence’s wife, Hannah (Nia Long) takes a trip out of town, accompanied by the husband and daughter of a family friend. Clarence decides to use the time alone to hang out with Rell suggesting going to see Liam Neeson movie as a distraction. When they return home, they discover that the place has been ransacked in piano was missing. The only logical reason Rell could come up with is that they were actually targeting his next-door neighbor, Hulka (Will Forte), who just happens to be a low-level marijuana dealer. Rell concludes that a local gang, the 17th St. Blips, must have been responsible having mistaken one house for the other. Hot on the trail of Keanu, Kell and Clarence head off to the strip club which is the base of operation for the gang. Amped up by the Liam Neeson movie they just saw Rell tells Clarence to assume a gangsta persona, which the cousin reluctantly agrees to do. As such, they go into the strip club having adopted the alter egos of ‘Tectonic’ and ‘Shark Tank’. The ruse of sensibly works, at least sufficiently for the Boston residents, Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish), agreed to take the path to see the big boss, Cheddar (Method Man). He is sufficiently high up in the criminal hierarchy to recognize Rell and Clarence has the much to be feared ‘Allentown Boys’. This brings the mistaken identity around full circle. The pair of innocent dups was impersonating imaginary gangsters, only to be mistaken for actual assassins were very much involved in the massacre that started the cascading dominoes of plot points.

A story narrative that relies completely upon preposterous coincidences and genetic happenstance necessary for such a mistaken identity to not only happen with two people, but that both pairs are related to each other art that not even Lloyd’s of London would take. However, if you are a connoisseur of cinema whose penchant encompasses the farces that were quite popular in the 60s, then you will recognize such a ridiculous contextual foundation as de rigueur for the genre. People coming across their perfect doppelgänger can even be found in the venerated works of William Shakespeare. It is a fairly efficient technique for placing people in circumstances far beyond the capabilities or putting them in situations that they are clueless to understand. The movie works far more effectively than you might think such a contrivance would fare which is due almost exclusively to the incredible comic timing achieved by Key & Peele. Although they have been in many TV comedy shows like many people I first came across them during their five-year stint as regulars on the sketch comedy show space ‘MADtv’. During that time they had a number of regular characters, but the one recurring bit that demonstrated the amazing timing. This pair possesses woman the various skits that required them to execute a number of shakes, bumps and exceptionally complex and intricate synchronized movements.

With the community pair having such a shared sense of comic timing when combined with the director and writer who has worked with them in a specific skill set for many years the results defy any negative expectations you might have over the unlikely combination of hard-core drug cartel gangsters and a cute little kitten. The absurdity of this premise may be compounded by the mistaken identity plot twist but all of that does not seem to matter to there watching the film laughing hysterically. There are many films that demand to be analyzed the scholarly fashion. To be fastidiously dissected, subjected to comparisons with the standards set by the great moments in cinema. There is no chance that this movie will ever be mistaken for such a film. In fact, the less you try to analyze the greater appeal for you. The whole purpose of a farce such as this is to take a brief respite from reality. You get to forget the woes of the world for a little while and enjoy a couple of masters of physical comedy at work. At least it features a kitten generically engineer to be the cutest bit of fluff possible.

Posted 07/20/2016

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