26.  Keanu

Ahh, another R-rated comedy.  It wasn’t too long ago that these had almost completely fallen out of fashion.  And the The Hangover hit big and almost every comedy is now rated R.  Of course, each movie hits or misses based on its own merits and circumstances and the rating has very little to do with it (as was the case with Deadpool).

I was unsure about what those merits would be regarding Keanu.  Key and Peele are hit-and-miss with me and I generally find them amusing but not hilarious.  And I really only chose to see this one, this weekend, because I couldn’t get to a theater that was showing Green Room (that’s going to be a tough one for me to get to, with my upcoming schedule, but I’m going to try!).  So, I was ready for this one to go either way.

A fish-out-of-water buddy comedy, Keanu didn’t break too many conventions or reinvent the wheel.  And that’s okay.  Audiences go into these types of movies with certain expectations and those need to be met, at the very least.  I can confidently say that the marketing campaign was spot on for this one and you’re getting exactly what you signed up for.

As did I, for the most part.  Like I alluded to above, I was certainty amused for the duration of Keanu even if I wasn’t finding myself laughing hysterically.  Amusement is good, though.  I’ll take that.  There have certainly been many movies that in no way amused me and that’s rarely fun.  For what it’s worth, the crowd as a whole seemed to be laughing pretty consistently.

What I was surprised to find was that, as I was watching the film, I was becoming increasingly invested in the characters.  The two primary protagonists are likable and relatable and easy to root for.  At one time or another, we all find ourselves lost and searching for a direction in life.  Like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that can’t find its hole.  And that’s the motivation behind both Key and Peele’s characters.

In addition to that, the movie subtly makes the point that we are all complex human beings, capable of good and bad – capable of surprising not only others, but ourselves, if we are just willing to take the chance.

Seeing the characters discover more about themselves as the story progresses adds an unexpected layer to Keanu.  What I’m especially impressed with is the fact that the film manages to mix in these complexities without ever sacrificing comedy or momentum.  It never slams on the brakes to make a point or to pound an idea into the viewer’s head.  These ideas are present if you want to see them.  If not, the light tone never dissipates and the laughs keep coming.

Often funny, occasionally hilarious, and surprisingly deep, Keanu is a nice little gem of a comedy that supplies a strong alternative to the big-budget blockbusters that are poised to flood the marketplace through August.  I’m curious to see what Key and Peele do next and they’ve earned my ticket money for their next outing.

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