Coffee & Kareem review – your basic remake of Cop and a Half without the laughs

April 3, 2020 (Last updated: 6 days ago)
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews, Netflix


Coffee and Kareem have more in common with Stuber and Netflix’s Point Blank than say, Jason Bateman’s Bad Words this comedy is crass, cringe-worthy, and its laughs are MIA. I should demand hazard pay.

Here is how you know a movie will feel longer than its running time, even at a quick 88-minutes. Netflix’s next dive into good mainstream film entertainment, Coffee & Kareem, for example, has a setup that would have fallen over like a Jenga tower with one easy step — if the title characters just called the authorities, there would be no reason to go beyond the first 20 minutes of this comedy. That leaves us with the only reason the film was made, which can be summed up with a series of foul-mouthed attacks, jokes about pedophilia, and just a bad taste in the viewer’s mouth.

Ed Helms and Kareem play Coffee by relative newcomer Terrance Little Gardenhigh, who becomes involved in an underground network of criminal drug activity. How? Kareem tricks Coffee into taking him to a setup to be killed by a local rap-star and drug dealer, Orlando (RonReaco Lee, from the unfairly canceled The Good Guys and crazy credit time, the mute drummer boy in Glory; the only highlight here) only to witness the murder of a dirty cop. Why? Well, because Coffee is dating his mom, Vanessa (Taraji P. Henson), and he is not a fan of cops, to begin with.

CoffeeKareem was directed by Michael Dowse, who directed last year’s bomb, Stuber. He brings the same problems to his current project — full of foul crass and not comedy, which seems to be MIA. The script from Shane Mack is also absurd and has a typical flimsy premise you would gladly ignore if there were enough laughs to make it enjoyable.

Ed Helms is typecasting himself again with the same role he always does, an Americanized version of Hugh Grant’s befuddled shtick, and there is nothing new here. Betty Gilpin has the role of a hotshot cop and does what she can with the role to have fun with it, but even she can’t save it; what performer can sell a line about giving “this child a 600-week abortion!

Coffee and Kareem have more in common with Stuber and Netflix’s Point Blank than a dirty comedy with a kid with a pulse, like Jason Bateman’s Bad Words. Dowse’s film has a degree in crass, specializing in the cringe-worthy. It even has an issue with originality since this is an updated, modernized version of the much-maligned, but Roger Ebert approved, 1993 comedy Cop and a Half, starring Burt Reynolds.

There is just one key exception with that thought it really may be a better movie by comparison.

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