Coffee and Kareem Are Bad Boys

The Stream: The annoying and profane 12-year-old is not funny.

The Big Screen: Ed Helms brings it with his goofy, physical comedy

The Final Bill: A predictable buddy cop comedy that lacks comedy, but a decent escape if you’re stuck at home.

-Trip Fontaine
Director: Michael Dowse
Writer: Shane Mack
Stars: Ed HelmsTaraji P. HensonTerrence Little Gardenhigh | See full cast & crew
Runtime: 1 hour 28 minutes
Genre: Action, Comedy
Platform: Netflix

It’s another day at home. What should you watch?

Well, I watched a new, original movie from Netflix – Coffee & Kareem. It is sort of a buddy, odd couple, foul-mouthed-kid, cop comedy from the director, Michael Dowse, who also directed last summer’s flop, Stuber. Remember Stuber?

Anyway, Coffee & Kareem stars Ed Helms as an inept, Detroit cop named, James Coffee, who is hot and heavy with a woman played by Taraji P. Henson, who has a 12 year-old son, Kareem. Kareem is not supposed to know that his mother is dating this cop; and, when he finds out, you know it’s going to hit the fan. Kareem does so much posturing in the early scenes that you know he’s more trouble than he’s worth. Nevertheless, Coffee wants to be with Kareem’s mother and will do whatever it takes to win this kid over. As these buddy cop movies go, Coffee and Kareem end up in a high stakes investigation that involves shoot outs, car chases, yelling and lots and lots of cursing. Don’t worry, Netflix has appropriately rated this one, TV-MA.

In a time where we are scrounging for lightness and humor in life, a robust comedy would be a good thing, and something for the family would be even better. Unfortunately, Coffee & Kareem isn’t exactly the family fare you have been looking for. Yes, it has its funny moments, mostly courtesy of Coffee’s lack of police skills and Helms’s physical comedy; but, for the most part, the laughs are pretty cheap. Take for instance, the pun in the title. Groan. The movie tends to rely on the incessant f-bombs dropped by the 12-year-old and then there are some offensive racial and homophobic jokes, which are more offensive because they’re not funny than anything else.

I will note that Betty Gilpin plays a colleague of Coffee’s. She is the top officer at the precinct. Gilpin is fun throughout. She has a manic and aggressive energy that’s surprising. Taraji P. Henson, on the other hand, is wasted. She is good when she is around – bringing some great momma-bear feistiness, but she’s not in enough. It must have been a slow weak in the final season of “Empire”. To me, the focus on Kareem drags the movie down, especially, because the plot is so predictable the only reason to stick around is for the comedy.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Now, for those looking for a flick where you can just turn off your brain and you are easily amused by crudeness and a 12-year-old cursing, then Coffee & Kareem is a passable 88 minutes. Watch it and then immediately forget it. A better rated-R comedy about raunchy tweens is Good Boys. Watch that. A better odd-couple/buddy cop movie is The Heat, with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Watch that. If you don’t want to throw away 88 minutes and you want something that’s actually funny, then you can skip this, pick out a classic comedy and call it a day.

Handful of Popcorn