Forced humour on the force

By Seth Lukas Hynes

Coffee and Kareem
Starring Ed Helms, Terrence Little Gardenhigh and Betty Gilpin
Rated MA15+

Good comedies are hard to review, as it’s difficult to explain why they’re funny without spoiling the humour. Conversely, reviewing a bad comedy is easy, as you can show why the humour doesn’t work and spare your readers.

Coffee and Kareem isn’t as bad (or morally contemptible) as last week’s The Wrong Missy, but it’s still a grating, unfunny comedy.

Police officer James Coffee (Ed Helms) reluctantly teams up with his girlfriend’s overbearing son Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) to foil a drug deal.

James and Kareem gradually come to respect each other through shared adversity, but their bonding is undermined by Kareem’s spiteful, vulgar and obnoxious personality.

Drug dealer Orlando (RonReaco Lee) and his henchmen share some witty dialogue, and Betty Gilpin is clearly having fun as the over-the-top villain, but most of the humour is crude and mean-spirited. A long homophobic gag and a strained comedic acknowledgement of racial discrimination in the US police force stand out as particularly uncomfortable. The plot’s attempt at rising tension falls flat, the dirty cop twist is glaringly obvious, and the climax devolves into a trite Die Hard homage.

Blunt and wearisome, Coffee and Kareem is available for streaming on Netflix, but I wouldn’t advise it.