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Netflix’s ‘Coffee and Kareem’ too vulgar to properly enjoy

Netflix’s ‘Coffee and Kareem’ too vulgar to properly enjoy

Netflix’s ‘Coffee and Kareem’ too vulgar to properly enjoy
April 06
16:00 2020

In times like these, watching something funny and lighthearted can be just what we need. Netflix ordered up this dose of humor with the release of their cleverly-titled movie “Coffee and Kareem” on April 3, but does the film really offer quality comedic relief, or do the jokes just fall flat?

In short, the answer is mostly no to the comedic relief. But not because the jokes were dull — they were actually way too much.

The premise of the movie is decent enough, albeit incredibly far-fetched. For silly comedy movies, though, it’s pretentious to judge how believable a plot is, because they’re supposed to be a little outlandish. Basically, Ed Helms plays the well-meaning but incompetent cop Coffee who starts dating Taraji P. Henson’s character Vanessa. Vanessa’s son, twelve-year-old Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh), doesn’t approve of Coffee (he’s white, a cop and he’s not even rich? Why bother?), so he enlists the help of criminals to help scare Coffee off … or kill him. His plan goes awry, and soon Coffee and Kareem are running for their lives from a drug lord. Despite their hatred for each other, the only way they can survive is by working together.

It’s a predictable enough ending. I won’t spoil it, but I’m sure you can assume how their relationship will change over the course of the movie. There are a few twists thrown in to keep you interested, and the hour and 28-minute runtime is decently paced. While it’s a bit formulaic, it’s good enough to make it an enjoyable watch.

Unfortunately, much of that enjoyment was detracted because of how over-the-top and vulgar most of the jokes were. And it doesn’t help that most of this vulgarity comes from the kid.

I’m pretty sure Kareem dropped an f-bomb in every sentence he spoke. He also made way too many insensitive references to rape and molestation. This 12-year-old objectifies more women and makes more homophobic jokes than “The Office’s” Todd Packer. What began as an endearing desire for Kareem to want to protect his single mom became grossly sexual. He talked way too much about Coffee “hittin’ it” with his mom as if he had some weird monopoly over her sexuality. Imagine the most crude episode of “The Office” (Diversity Day immediately comes to mind). Now take all the cringe-worthy moments of the episode, make them twice as uncomfortable, four times as frequent and come out of the mouth of a child instead of Michael Scott and you have this movie. Crude humor is a thing, and it can be good, but this was just tasteless and obnoxious. Even when Kareem wasn’t saying something nasty, he was plain annoying.

This isn’t to say that every joke in the film was disagreeable. There are some laughable moments, most of which coming from drug lord Orlando (RonReaco Lee) and his two accomplices. Those three characters, along with Coffee, had some moments which almost reminded me of “New Girl” humor  stupid, but somehow still charismatically funny. We got some decent performances from Helms, Lee and Henson as well. Betty Gilpin played Coffee’s cop nemesis Detective Watts, and she’s quite serviceable, too.

If the more boorish jokes in the script had been a) toned down and b) used sparingly instead of every other line, we would’ve been left with a much more enjoyable film. Even still, I don’t outright recommend you to not watch the movie. It’s tolerable enough if you’re looking for an absentminded watch. Just be prepared for the questionable humor and the irritating kid. This one might make you raise your eyebrows and scrunch your nose up more than you chuckle.

Final rating: 2/5

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Haley Arnold

Haley Arnold

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