Year 9, Day 207 - 7/26/17 - Movie #2,696
BEFORE: Keegan-Michael Key carries over again from "Don't Think Twice" - huh, didn't I do a chain with him last year? Yep, I did - it was "Pitch Perfect 2", "Tomorrowland" and "Vacation", all in a row. That guy's gotten a lot of work in the last few years. More power to him.
THE PLOT: When an L.A. drug kingpin's kitten unexpectedly enters the life of two cousins, they will have to go through gangs, hitmen and drug dealers in order to get him back.
AFTER: I never watched the Key & Peele show, and of course now it's too late - but I've seen enough of the clips to get where these guys are coming from. It's observational black humor, and that's not really my thing, but I can still be happy for them, it's not easy to make the jump from a comedy series to feature films. That's meant the end for such fine comedy teams as Bob & Doug, the Jerky Boys, and Penn & Teller (I know, they're still together, but they never made another movie after "Penn & Teller Get Killed", now, did they?). One of those stupid Sunday newspaper answer columns I saw last week reported that Key "left" Key & Peele, but I think they still have plans to work together on some projects, so I think it would be more accurate to say that the show just ended.
The gag here is that both of these African-American men aren't really in touch with "street" culture, so when they get mistaken for a pair of ruthless, silent, dreadlocked hitmen whom they sort of resemble (because the actors play those characters two) then they're drawn into the L.A. underworld while they're really looking for one's lost kitten. The kitten used to belong to a druglord that the hitmen killed, and he shows up on the doorstep of one cousin, who's just been through a bad break-up. The other cousin is married, but while his wife and daughter are away for the weekend, he wants to spend some time getting to know himself.
But instead they get mixed up in the gang scene, and are forced to act "blacker", or more "gangsta", I suppose, to have a chance to get the stolen kitten back. Jeez, what's all the fuss over one kitten, I mean you can probably find another kitten with the same fur color without a lot of effort. And the fact that three different crime lords want this cute kitten at different times, well, that does sort of strain the suspension of disbelief just a bit. So does a black man being SO into George Michael songs, but I get that's where the humor lies, in the unlikely combination of disparate elements.
It's a little tough for me to see this as a straight parody, having never seen films like "New Jack City" or TV shows like "The Wire" - so I probably didn't get many of the references. It's not even a parody of "John Wick", even though he had a dog in that movie, and there's a cat in this one - that's probably just a coincidence. This one should be able to stand on its own with its story, but it just vacillates a little too wildly between action film and comedy film.
Also starring Jordan Peele (last seen in "Wanderlust"), Method Man (last seen in "Trainwreck"), Tiffany Haddish, Luis Guzman (last seen in "The Count of Monte Cristo"), Will Forte (last heard in "My Life as a Zucchini"), Nia Long (last seen in "Alfie"), Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jason Mitchell, Jamar Malachi Neighbors, Rob Huebel (last seen in "Horrible Bosses 2"), Anna Faris (last heard in "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2"), Ian Casselberry (last seen in "Triple 9"), with a cameo from the voice of Keanu Reeves (last seen in "John Wick").
RATING: 5 out of 10 team-building exercises