Coffee & Kareem: Reviews call Netflix comedy ‘puerile’ and ‘tone-deaf’

New comedy film stars Ed Helms, Taraji P Henson and Betty Gilpin

Adam White
Friday 03 April 2020 18:14
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Trailer for Netflix's Coffee & Kareem

Netflix’s cop comedy Coffee & Kareem, starring Ed Helms and Taraji P Henson, has been called “puerile” and “tone deaf” by film critics.

The new movie, which has dropped on Netflix today (3 April), stars Helms as a Detroit cop named James Coffee who is partnered with a foul-mouthed 12-year-old boy called Kareem (newcomer Terrence Little Gardenhigh).

The pair must clear Coffee’s name after he is framed for murder and kidnapping.

Reviewers have so far been unkind to the film, criticising a script that reportedly sacrifices wit for cruelty and crude language.

In the Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore called the film “a tone-deaf attempt to recreate the nasty comic vibe people associate with certain Eighties buddy cop films”.

He specifically called out a scene in which the “badly directed” Gardenhigh “threatens his teacher with cunnilingus in front of her students”.

For Variety, critic Peter Debruge condemned the film’s “puerile premise” while arguing that “there’s politically incorrect, and then there’s just plain wrong”.

Nick Allen, via RogerEbert.com, wrote that Coffee & Kareem is “yet another action movie that ends with a big shoot-out in a dark steel mill.”

Peter Travers, in Rolling Stone, added that the film is a “dead on arrival farce”, while referring to it as a “disastrously bad flop”.

IndieWire’s Kate Erbland was slightly kinder to the film, writing that the film does feature “a handful of inspired gags” but “never quite lives up to its caffeine-infused title”.

Coffee & Kareem, which also stars Betty Gilpin and RonReaco Lee, is available to stream on Netflix now.

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