Review by Adam Donato
Coffee & Kareem is the newest Netflix movie out this week. It is directed by Michael Dowse, who is fresh off of Stuber, and written by freshman writer, Shane Mack. The film stars The Office and The Hangover comedy star, Ed Helms, along with Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Little Gardenhigh. It’s about a cop who gets wrapped up in a case while trying to bond with his girlfriend’s son.
It really shows that the film is written by a first-timer. This movie is generic garbage. The jokes in this movie are utterly cringe-worthy. A good majority of the humor in this movie comes from topical references about racist cops. At a certain point in the movie, it feels like they are beating you over the head with it. There isn’t even a point to be made except that not all cops are racist. That’s nice, but it’s not saying anything well and definitely without any sort of subtlety. The plot is your standard buddy cop fare. Two people have to team up to solve a case even though they don’t like each other. Along the way, they bond and become friends at the end. The character arcs are “been there, done that” and aren’t done with any kind of quality whatsoever. The stereotype in movies is that child actors are not very good, but with this movie, the writing wasn’t doing the kid any favors. This movie should’ve not been let go past script lock.
All that being said, this movie isn’t too terrible. It’s perfectly digestible to watch in a surface-level kind of way. The best part of the movie is the cast. Helms is a very good comedian. His physical acting and general over-the-top style make this movie tolerable. TV actor Gardenhigh does a solid job with what he is given. He has a lot of personality and brings that to the table in this movie. Henson is an experienced actress who steals every scene that she is in. For anyone who experienced Vine, it’s hard to see Andrew Bachelor (King Bach) in a movie without it feeling cheap. That being said, he does a good job in this movie as he was very held back in comparison to his other comedic performances. Betty Gilpin, who was also in Dowse’s Stuber and more recently starred in The Hunt, is a lot of fun to watch on screen as per usual.
Overall, this movie is fine... if you can look past all of the cringe and focus on the cast, that is. It’s hard to recommend this movie to anybody who isn’t a big Ed Helms fan, or maybe the niche audience that gets into racial humor about cops. Coffee & Kareem has very little value and doesn’t deserve the hour and a half it takes to watch it.
Coffee & Kareem is now streaming on Netflix.