2016, Movies

Keanu (2016, Peter Atencio)

Keanu takes the classic Hollywood trope of fishes-out-water lying about their identities resulting in hijinks and transposes it to the world of LA drug gangs. That is, to my knowledge, a unique take on a very, very tired formula.

One significant SPOILER

I can’t say I was interested in this one. I saw the trailers and didn’t laugh much at them and really had no interest. (This is likely also because I have yet to get around to watching Key and Peele, so I wasn’t very excited about this film. FYI, I cannot compare this to their show.) But the girlfriend wanted to watch it and I figured what the hell.

But though this is a fairly formulaic comedy in new clothes, I found it consistently funny, with a number of new takes on the classic misunderstanding formula that had enough funny or bizarre moments to keep me interested.

It also helps that I have not seen this formula through an African American lens before. (I’m sure it exists, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it.) And so a lot of the racial dynamics at play – Key and Peele spend the movie trying to be more “black,” more “gangsta” added a fresh take on the formula, at least fresh for me. (SPOILER: I will say that the climax of the movie could have been handled with greater bravado in this regard, when Peele runs for Keanu he should be shot, which would have likely been far too uncomfortable for just about everyone, but that’s the point.)

Stunt casting is a pretty cheap way to get laughs but I must say I also found the stunt casting pretty effective. (Though the first one, an obvious joke, sailed right over my head and Jenn had to explain it to me because apparently I was just oblivious.)

This is no classic, by any means, but it felt to me like a fresh take on the formula. More importantly, I laughed a lot, which is what I want out of a comedy, whether or not it’s formulaic.

Honestly liked this much more than I thought I would.


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