Police officer James Coffee must join forces with his girlfriend’s foul-mouthed 12-year-old son to bust a drug racket when their day out goes awry, courtesy a run-in with a wanted gangster. When their plan doesn’t go as planned, Coffee is forced to shed his own inhibitions to save Kareem and his mother from the local gang.
Coffee & Kareem is a raunchy buddy comedy that makes for a laid-back watch. Everything you see in the film isn’t new, but it still manages to impress with some genuinely laugh-out-loud stretches. One of the reasons the comedy works is because of the mismatched relationship between Ed Helms and his new partner in crime, 12-year-old Kareem. Scenes between Coffee and Kareem are dumb, inappropriate and silly but they somehow manage to elicit some laughs, especially if you’re purely looking for some escapism in this lockdown. Even though made with a kid as the central character, the film isn’t children-friendly and even for adults, it comes across extremely inappropriate on several occasions. Agreed, it’s dumb comedy but it’s shocking to see a 12-year-old see play a character that says the nastiest things, drives a cop car and gets involved in a shoot-out. If not for Ed Helms and the constant flow of some jokes, this would’ve been a downer.
Ed Helms is not new to such characters and he couldn’t have played it any better. While one may argue that he isn’t playing a character out of his comfort zone, but how many actors can convincingly pull off similar characters without getting typecast? Ed Helms has the talent for it and he doesn’t disappoint in Coffee & Kareem. Terrence Little Gardenhigh, who plays Kareem, is unarguably the nastiest kid you might have seen on screen in recent times. But you’ve got to hand it to the kid; he’s terrific as the foul-mouthed Kareem, who hates the idea of Coffee dating his mother. The camaraderie between Helms and Terrence works effectively throughout the film. From playing characters that just can’t stand the sight of each other to looking after each other’s back; they’re a great pair together. In her limited screen presence, Taraji Henson as Kareem’s mother shines and gets to prove her comic prowess.
It’s a dumb comedy that expects the viewer to not take it seriously. If you’re in the mood for some silly but harmless fun, here’s what you need to watch. Just lower your expectations.
This story would’ve worked better as a short. After a point, it gets stretched and even the jokes don’t quite land.
Did I like it
I did only because I had zero expectations and was pretty sure what I’d get from the film.
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars