KEANU – Review by Susan Granger

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Voiced by “The Matrix” star, Keanu is the tiny gray-and-white kitten that serves as the linchpin in an extended sketch by TV’s Comedy Central favorites Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. As Keanu’s story begins, he’s scooting out of a drug-lab shootout, miraculously winding up on the doorstep of pot-puffing slacker Rell Williams (Peele), who’s depressed after being dumped by his girl-friend. With the approval of his uptight best friend/cousin Clarence (Key), Rell adopts the fluffy feline, naming him Keanu, which he thinks is Hawaiian for “cool breeze.” Read on…

When Keanu disappears after a break-in, Rell’s stoner neighbor Hulka (Will Forte) steers them to a seedy Los Angeles strip club, Hot Party Vixens, the headquarters of the notorious 17th Street Blips (“the ones who got kicked out of the Bloods and Crips”), run by kingpin Cheddar (rapper Method Man), who has not only abducted Keanu but also re-named him New Jack, decking him out in a do-rag and bling.

In order to ingratiate themselves with Cheddar, nerdy, soft-spoken Rell and Clarence pass themselves off as street thugs called Tectonic and Shark Tank – and their gangsta impersonations poke fun at racial stereotypes.

To get their cat back, they’re sent on a mission to deliver drugs to the Hollywood home of a maniacal movie star (Anna Faris), accompanied by Cheddar’s surly accomplice Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish). Not surprisingly, there are unexpected complications – with a nod to Clarence’s giddy passion for pop singer George Michael.

Lackadaisically scripted by Jordan Peele with his longtime TV writing partner Alex Rubens, it’s episodically directed by “Key & Peele” show veteran Peter Atencio. And credit the cat-wranglers who juggled seven different tabbies in the title role.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Keanu” is a subtly absurdist 6, purring with subversive satire.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.