As part of its promotion, Coffee & Kareem released a number of posters that paid homage to films past; Die Hard and 48 Hours, among others. Presumably meant to reflect the levels of action and comedy they were aiming for, so it’s a great shame then that the film fails spectacularly on both fronts.

Ed Helms plays Officer Coffee, a Detroit cop who is not only bad at his job but would rather spend his time with his new girlfriend Vanessa (Taraji P. Henson). Unfortunately for Coffee, Vanessa’s son Kareem (whom he has never had time for), has put in a request with local gangsters to kill him. As the inevitable chaos ensues, Coffee and Kareem must go on the run from gangsters and crooked cops and, hopefully, resolve their differences along the way.

The film is at once both too short and too long. It will race through story points and character development, with characters often just randomly announcing their new motivations whenever a bit of plot is required. It then lingers on excruciatingly long improvised scenes which run the tone-deaf gamut of racist, sexist and homophobic jokes.

Ed Helms is a very fine comic performer, but here he just comes across as snivelling and unsympathetic. Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson shows up at the beginning and is then knocked out for the majority of the movie, for no reason whatsoever. The only saving grace is Betty Gilpin who, as the crooked cop, is both genuinely funny and scary.

Coffee & Kareem sacrifices plot for poor jokes and boring action sequences. Much like its characters, by the time it’s over the audience will have learned nothing. It may have started life as a decent one-line pitch. Clearly the trouble started when it had to be turned into a 90-minute film.



CAST: Ed Helms, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Little Gardenhigh, Betty Gilpin

DIRECTOR: Michael Dowse

WRITER: Shane Mack

SYNOPSIS: Officer Coffee is asked by his girlfriend to pick her son up from school. Meanwhile, Kareem who is not a fan of his mum’s new relationship, asks a gangster to take Coffee out.