Starring: Ed Helms, Terrence Little Gardenhigh, Taraji P. Henson
Director: Michael Dowse
Running Time: 88 mins
Coffee & Kareem is an American film about a down-on-his-luck cop who teams up with his girlfriend’s young son as they attempt to take down a drug ring with connections to the police.
This is an unbearably annoying movie. It’s not funny in the slightest, it’s full of irritating and ridiculous characters, and it’s an utter mess of action and terrible comedy. Couple that with two hugely unlikable central performances, and Coffee & Kareem proves a pretty painful watch.
The film might be made in a light-hearted, entertainingly chaotic vein, but it does nothing to actually make that chaos any fun. Apart from the fact that the humour is just so rubbish – I only laughed at one line near the very end of the film – the screenplay is a nightmare that just doesn’t make any sense.
With poorly explained character relationships that leave you trying to guess whether or not certain people actually like each other or not, it’s really difficult to get into the movie from the start. Then, when all the action starts to kick off, the film gets sidetracked by its comedy and straight up seems to forget to tell you what is actually going on.
That sparks a totally nonsensical descent into chaos, taking away any sense of high-octane fun factor as the characters find themselves embroiled in a weird mix of a secret drug ring and a national manhunt.
Plus, the pacing is all over the place, the visuals are unnecessarily dark, and the action is far from exhilarating. And none of that makes for a good action movie.
But, Coffee & Kareem could have salvaged itself if it were funny. But it’s not. Again, there’s one clever line in the last act, and that’s it. It’s juvenile, it’s loud, and the screenplay seems to think that every character screaming for no good reason is an excuse for decent comedy.
What’s more, the lead performances from Ed Helms and Terrence Little Gardenhigh are awful. Helms is painfully bland, failing to engender any sense of sympathy for a cop down on his luck, and instead proving an unlikable moron.
Meanwhile, Gardenhigh puts in one of the most annoying young performances I can remember. His foul-mouthed dialogue is the fault of the writers, but his demeanour and on-screen presence is as precocious as it is unlikable, making him insufferable to watch for the entire film.
The only saving graces in terms of performances come from supporting players Taraji P. Henson and Betty Gilpin. Both have wildly inconsistent characters, but Henson’s highly-strung performances does have some comic value to it, while Gilpin is at times the only engaging on-screen presence, getting under your skin with her cartoonishly evil performance.
On the whole, though, Coffee & Kareem is a terrible movie. Insufferable and annoying, painfully unfunny and badly made all round, it’s simply a waste of time, and that’s why I’m giving it 4.9.