When I was at Comic-Con in 2014, one of the things I had to do moderate the panel for Sony's Goosebumps. I was in the green room getting ready for the appearance when a huge group of people walked in to get ready for another one of the panels. I immediately recognized both Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key, and made a beeline for… Peter Atencio, the director of their beloved Comedy Central series.
Because as much as I love Key and Peele as performers and writers, what made that show such a special thing for me was the razor-sharp work done on the film and television parodies. Atencio has such a fantastic eye for the small details that make something recognizable that you can set his work right next to the original and all that separates them is attitude. Parody is incredibly difficult to get right, and Atencio approaches everything with such a keen awareness of genre that he elevates the joke, giving Key and Peele a tremendous stage for their work.
Now we're going to see what happens when Atencio and Key and Peele turn their talents loose on a full-length feature, and the trailer for Keanu is promising, to say the least. Bonus points for the John Ritter reference, and the use of George Michael in the trailer is inspired. Three observations, though. First of all, they apparently hired ILM to create the single cutest film kitten of all time. Second, I'm pretty sure that's the house from Beverly Hills Cop and Commando they show repeatedly in the trailer. Finally, I caught a glimpse of the Rockafire Explosion in that trailer, and if there's not a major sequence involving them, I will sue Atencio personally for false advertising.
I love Key and Peele, and it was startling when they announced that they were ending their Comedy Central show. If films like Keanu are the result of that, though, I'm okay with the show ending, because this looks like a wicked smart way of making an action film that comments on the genre while fully embracing it at the same time.
And the best news of all? We don't have long to wait until we get to see this one.
Keanu arrives in theaters April 22, 2016.