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Review: ‘Coffee & Kareem’ is a Major Disappointment

April 3, 2020
4 min read

Netflix’s new ‘Coffee and Kareem’ sticks to the good old ‘Cop and A Half’ tropes and tries hard to come off as a comedy suitable for all demographics. The main cast includes Ed Helms, mostly known for his role in ‘The Office,’ along with a 12-year-old newcomer, Terrence Little High, and Taraji P. Henson from ‘Empire.’ The entire crux of the movie predominantly revolves around the precociousness of the little kid who ends up forming an unlikely alliance with a cop. Although the kid’s racial slur and profane language are intended to be hilarious and even charming, it just winds up being grating and very unpleasant.

The kind of PG-13 comedy and violence that it presents makes you wonder what exactly is its intended audience? It’s certainly not a movie for kids who are itching to bust criminals, and it is definitely not a family movie. With its one-dimensional family drama and displeasing child protagonist, ‘Coffee and Kareem’ is like any other adult buddy cop movie which brims with violence, bathroom humor, and racial clichès. It expects you to chuckle at depictions of collateral damage, cop brutality, and braindead dialogues, and adding to this; even its family-centric themes are oafishly written, lacking any depth whatsoever.

Coffee and Kareem Plot Summary

Kareem, the main child protagonist, is an outgoing kid who brazenly talks to adults like they’re inferior to him. At school, using his domineering attitude, he makes sure that none of his peers tease him for being a little on the heavier side. On the other hand, despite being a cop, Coffee is the complete opposite of Kareem and is often looked down upon by his peers. When Kareem discovers that Coffee is dating his mother, he loses it and contacts a local thug to help him get rid of Coffee.

However, his whole plan backfires on him, and he is forced to work with the cop that he hates the most. Soon, the two of them, along with Kareem’s mother, find themselves in the middle of a bigger conspiracy, which not only brings out the badass side of Coffee but also strengthens his bond with his future step-son, Kareem. In the end, Coffee learns to “man up” and finally play his role as a cop and Kareem learns to appreciate Coffee for who he is.

Coffee and Kareem Review

There are many odd sequences in the film that make it a lot less memorable. Out of these, there’s one in which Kareem explains Coffee that he should try to be “aggressively gay” when he threatens people. To further explain this, he even refers to Mike Tyson’s trash talk. The comic implication of this scene is cleared out much later in the film when Coffee tries to use the same “gay trash talking” to torture a criminal, but it still feels awkward and inexplicably unfunny. This also shows how the kid’s character is intentionally written to bring nuisance on the screen. And as hilarious as that might have sounded on paper, it simply falls flat in the movie.

The good thing about Kareem’s character is the child actor who plays him. Despite having a ridiculously annoying role in the film with little to no depth in his overall personality, Terrence Little Gardenhigh is still able to elevate his character with his decent performance. Moreover, even King Bach plays out his role surprising well and comes off a hilarious villain who serves to keep the ball rolling during his scenes. The last twenty of the film promise some good action scenes but even these escalate at a breakneck pace and reek of absurdity with absolutely no thrills.

All of this makes ‘Kareem and Coffee’ really hard to recommend, though it is possible that its ludicrous plot and outlandishly bizarre moments will be entertaining for a few people out there. Overall, it’s always nice to see the likable Ed Helms on screen, but in this case, he seems to be the only watchable aspect of the movie. Its script is cringe-inducing and for the most part, makes no sense at all. Even the ending of the film accomplishes nothing and shatters any attempt the film had at considering mildly powerful themes. All in all, ‘Kareem and Coffee’ simply runs on an empty cartridge and lacks the fun that you expect from it.

Read More: Where is Coffee and Kareem Filmed?

Rating: 1.5/5

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