Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.
Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Will Forte, and Method Man
Synopsis: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have a unique comedy style; one that has been a hit with audiences. Their sketch show, “Key & Peele,” was a popular spot on cable, and the duo have gotten plenty of roles in movies and other shows. They even appeared together in the first season of “Fargo” to bring some comedic relief. With “Keanu,” the feature film that opened on April 29, they look to take their brand a step further, carrying a movie all on their own. And there is the germ of a fascinating idea here. In fact, I laughed throughout the trailer and was excited to see the film. But what you get is a funny sketch stretched over 98 minutes. There’s funny moments, and even some inside jokes, but it doesn’t make for a dynamic movie-going experience. The idea of all these gangsters fighting over a kitten is pretty hilarious. In fact, the idea of a couple regular guys joining a gang in order to get their stolen kitten back is pretty hilarious. It was that sales pitch that drew me to this movie, which I thought looked like the possible sneaky hit of April. Instead, I found a movie that had hilarious moments, adorable moments and a lot of boring and over-the-top moments. Most of the funniest stuff is in the trailer, and the rest of the film is sort of hit-or-miss. And that’s a shame, because Key and Peele are dynamic comedic performers. They are good in this movie, but it’s sadly not a compelling overall story. The script is probably a lot of the problem here. It comes from Peele and Alex Rubens, who wrote for the “Key & Peele” sketch show. This script feels like it has some of the problems that have plagued “Saturday Night Live” movie adaptations. There’s the germ of a good idea, but when it’s stretched to feature length it can’t maintain at a high level throughout. I like Key and Peele as performers, and I’d like to see what they can do headlining a different film, but “Keanu” elicited little more than a shoulder shrug from me.
Rating: R for violence, language throughout, drug use and sexuality/nudity. Enter with caution.
Verdict: Two stars out of four.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jason Sudeikis, Britt Robertson, Timothy Olyphant, and Sarah Chalke
Synopsis: Garry Marshall has been making comedies for a long time. In recent years he's settled into the groove of making sprawling, multi-character films set on or around holidays. He's done "New Year's Eve," "Valentine's Day," and now "Mother's Day." This one has a great cast and takes a deep dive into family dynamics in a lot of different scenarios. There's not a lot of mystery to where this one is going, and it ends with pretty much everyone getting a happy ending. The actors are fine here, though none is really pushed out of their comfort zone. This is a nice, safe movie. But that's not always a bad thing. It's entertaining and an enjoyable afternoon out that's likely perfectly timed for the real holiday. It's the kind of movie you can watch with your family, which is a bit of nice counter programming. I liked this movie more than I expected and came away satisfied.
Rating: PG-13 for language and some suggestive material.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.
Friday, May 6 — "Captain America: Civil War"
Friday, May 13 — "The Darkness," "Money Monster"
Friday, May 20 — "Angry Birds," "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising," "The Nice Guys"
Friday, May 27 — "X-Men: Apocalypse," "Alice Through the Looking Glass"