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What’s New? Pussycat!

One of my favorite cartoons shows a couple of cats sitting at a bar, and one of them is complaining that there are a lot of great dog movies, but very few movies with cats in them at all. The other cat says, “Yes, but remember: We rule the Internet.”

True enough: It’s sometimes been said that the Internet is half porn, half cat videos. But there is a delightful cat movie, and it just came out. It’s called Keanu, and it’s totally charming: It stars the comedy team of Key and Peele as a couple of regular upper-middle-class African-American guys who pretend to be gangsters to rescue a kitten they have befriended. The cat, you see, was originally owned by a gang family and has once again fallen into nefarious hands. The comedy is based entirely on this fish-out-of-water, ordinary-guys-pretending-to-be-tough-in-a-dangerous-situation premise, which we’ve seen a lot before; but the two leads are so charming that it works. I’ve seen only one episode of their TV sketch-comedy show, but their performances here make me want to seek it out some more.

Another thing that made the film work was that it is – for a movie set largely in gangland — basically gentle and likeable as opposed to super-edgy. (MILD SPOILER HERE: On one occasion where it looks like the movie’s going into really dark territory, it ends up not doing so.)

As for the cat, he is completely adorable. But I have one peeve to register: At one point, we are told that he has a rare disease that will make him stay a kitten forever. As self-appointed spokesman for the feline version of the ADL, I object to this, as reinforcing the misofelinist stereotype that cats are cuter when they are kittens than when they are fully grown.

PS. One L.A. activity I’m really not good at is celebrity-spotting. I saw the movie at the midnight showing at the Arclight in Hollywood (the theatre itself makes an appearance in the film), and there was not a very large crowd – but there was one rather large and enthusiastic group sitting together, who seemed to be centered on a pretty young blonde with a remarkable resemblance to Anna Faris, who has a funny cameo in the film. I exchanged pleasantries with her – I was coming out of the men’s room, she out of the ladies’ – and her voice was similar to that of the lady in the movie. One reason I’m not 100 percent sure is that, in this neighborhood, there are plenty of people who try to look like Anna Faris (and not all of them are women, either). If you were in that group tonight, or you are Anna Faris and that wasn’t you, please feel free to correct the record.

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