I love the show Key & Peele, but I hate cats. Yet even the biggest cat hater will adore the kitten in this movie. And, if you aren’t familiar with Key and Peele’s terrific show on Comedy Central, you’ll still love this movie. It’s the best comedy of the year.
Rell (Jordan Peele) plays a stoner who is in the dumps, after being dumped, by his girlfriend. His cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) goes over to cheer him up, despite Rell saying “I don’t want you to see me like this. I look like Apollo Creed.”
“In which Rocky?”
While crying, Rell says, “The one where he died!”
This is the type of sharp dialogue you’ll get in this film, written by Peele with Alex Rubens (and directed by Peter Atencia).
It turns out, he was cheered up by a kitten that showed up on his doorstep earlier. In the beginning of the film, we see the kitten belonged to a gang of drug dealers. Nothing funnier than watching the cat flee the scene in slow motion.
For reasons unbeknownst to everyone, he names the cat Keanu. Not after the actor, but it means “cool breeze” in Hawaiian. You might think of the Keanu Reeves movie John Wick, in which he kills a bunch of bad guys that had killed his puppy.
After the “Allentown boys” kill their rivals and steal the cat, they believe it’s theirs. So when the Blips (gang members that were kicked out of the “Bloods” and the “Crips”) steal the cat from Rell…he’s not exactly sure of its history. He just knows he’s fallen in love with the little fur ball. He’s even done a clever calendar with the cat in various movie poses. Now, that’s a perfect example of how clever this film is. They do jokes you’ve seen in other movies — the calendar photos (Steve Carrell and Christopher Guest have done similar scenes), two nerdy guys trying to act tough around gang bangers (remember Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in Stir Crazy?), a white drug dealer (Will Forte) in cornrows that loves rap; or the exact opposite. The African-American character (Keegan) not loving hip-hop, but the mellow grooves of George Michael. Even those things worked in this, because they’re done so well.
So, the guys go to retrieve their cat at the strip club the Blips hang out in. It’s Hot Party Vixens (or as the neon sign shows — “HPV” for short). Rapper Method Man (Wu Tang Clan) plays the leader, and he doesn’t want to give up his new found pet — “New Jack Kitty.” Yet once he mistakenly believes these two guys are the Allentown Boys, he wants them to show the new crew how to deliver their new drug — Holy Sh**.
“It’s like smoking crack with God.”
The guys agree to do this, because…what can really go wrong on a few drug deals? Especially when they’re up in the Hollywood Hills to actors like Anna Faris (who hilariously plays herself). You got the family mini van, George Michael tunes blastin’, and a few quick deliveries.
At one point during this movie, my girlfriend leaned in and said, “This is like a cute cat video on crack.” I thought that would be the perfect tagline for the movie poster, but somebody in the crowd had a shirt from the film with the tagline “Kitten, please!”
Actor Jason Mitchell of Straight Outta Compton plays one of the gang members, and we hear N.W.A. when the guys go to see a movie (a Liam Neeson picture, of course). They’re blasting “F*** the Police” on the stereo, until cops roll up next to them. They turn it down, smile, and wave. So, it’s not always George Michael they’re jamming to, although…this will be the best use of Michael’s music in any movie ever. They also use the n-word more than a Quentin Tarantino flick (that comes after a scene in which Rell tries to convince Clarence that that’s how people on the street talk).
This is the best comedy of the year, whether you’re familiar with Key and Peele’s previous work or not. A lazy script would’ve just had them getting stoned or being threatened by gang members. This actually has clever jokes, and you can believe all the scenarios happening (aside from the kitten helping to untie Rell in one critical scene).
I never thought I’d give a Keanu Reeves movie 4 stars, but this is it. Instead of taking the wife to Mother’s Day on Mother’s Day (it’s one of the worst movies of the year), assure her that she’ll see cute kitty shenanigans. The gunfights and strip clubs will be your bonus.