A kittynapping can apparently trigger a comedically cat-astrophic series of events.

A gangster-comedy centered around the kidnap and retrieval of a cat, “Keanu” blends absurdity, action and adventure in the best way since Axel Foley took on Hollywood in “Beverly Hills Cop.”

Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key star as Rell Williams and Clarence Goobril — a pair of cousins thrust into a criminal underworld following the kidnapping of Rell’s cat Keanu. The pair must adapt to life as drug-dealing and gun-weilding gangsters if they are to have any shot at recovering the totally adorable kitten.

Unfortunately, Rell and Clarence are about as harmless as the kitten they hope to retrieve. 

Rell is down on his luck after his girlfriend dumps him. Clarence is the ultimate dad — complete with a minivan and house in the suburbs. The pair fight over who grew up in a rougher neighborhood by arguing “the kids that used to beat me up were way bigger than the kids that used to beat you up.” Together, they have to find a way to overcome their scaredy-cat attitude.

They rise to the occasion.

If you are familiar with Key and Peele’s comedy — the pair had a long-running Comedy Central show as well as numerous viral internet videos — the actors are masters of slipping in and out of stereotypes to illustrate the humor in today’s culture. Their characters in “Keanu” examine the roles and expectations placed upon black men specifically. Rell accuses Clarence of acting “white” because he drives a minivan and listens to George Michael. Clarence takes issue with the “white” label, but feels uncomfortable embracing what Rell describes as the way a black man should talk. When gangsters mistake Rell and Clarence for the merciless “Allentown Brothers” — a mysterious duo responsible for dozens of murders and fear mongering — both are forced into embracing the role of hardened killer.

As with all lies, it grows increasingly more difficult to convince the rough crowd they fall into that they are in fact the Allentown Brothers. The straight-laced Clarence must prove he’s capable of enjoying a night at the club. The unmotivated Rell must prove he can participate in a drug deal. When several gang members discover Clarence’s George Michael playlist in his minivan, Clarence attempts to convince the gang members Michael is “the real OG” — or original gangster.

Watching the duo act like violent criminals produces plenty of laughs. There are plenty of uncomfortable situations the pair find themselves in — and the cat is sprinkled throughout to add an added layer of absurdity. Two men risking their lives embedded in a vicious gang for the sake of a cat? You can’t help but laugh.

The film has received overall positive treatment from critics and is a worthy weekend movie choice. Nothing about the film makes it necessary to see on the big screen — no fantastic visuals or 3D kittens — so waiting to rent is also an excellent choice. 

Whatever the choice, make sure the cat doesn’t have your tongue while watching “Keanu” — you’ll need it for all the laughter that ensues. 

Contact David Dishman at ddishman@mcalesternews.com

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