Friday, April 24, 2020

Coffee & Kareem (2020)

WARNING:  I’m going to give away some minor spoilers.  It’s nothing that you shouldn’t see coming, but I feel it only fair to mention this now.

There are probably a lot of movies that look better as a script.  One might imagine that the finished product will be funny or action-packed, but words don’t always translate well to the screen.  I think Coffee & Kareem was looking for a Hot Fuzz kind of feel that it just couldn’t pull off.

The movie is about a police officer, James Coffee, who’s dating one Vanessa Manning.  Her son, Kareem, notices them having sex.  Kareem isn’t too fond of Coffee, mostly because he’s a police officer.  What does Kareem do?  His plan is to get Orlando Johnson, notorious criminal, to kill Coffee.

Kareem actually has Coffee drive him to where Johnson is hiding.  He then offers to pay Johnson in change, which he keeps in a sock.  Oh, and Kareem’s recording the whole thing for his YouTube channel.  Having once been 12 myself, I realize this probably makes total sense to Kareem.

Things go horribly sideways when Kareem witnesses the shooting of a corrupt police officer.  His only protection is the inept police officer who let Johnson escape in the first place.  The two end up on the run and trip over every cliché a buddy-cop movie has to offer.

You can actually see a lot of them coming.  In escaping from Johnson initially, Kareem drops his phone.  Of course he does.  Why not?  Doesn’t the main character drop the one key piece of evidence?  It’s not his house keys.  Maybe it’s his wallet, so the criminals know where he lives.  But if something gets dropped, it’s going to be the key piece of evidence.

Coffee calls his captain to report corruption and has him meet at a strip club with Kareem.  If a phone call is made requesting a meeting, one of the two people involved usually ends up dead.  If a by-the-books police officer calls a trusted officer to report corruption, you’d better bet the trusted officer is also corrupt.  So, yeah.  Captain Hill meets with Coffee and it turns out that he’s corrupt.  Then, Hill gets shot.  And Coffee is framed for Hill’s murder and for the murder of the other corrupt officer.  It’s too bad that Kareem dropped the key piece of evidence.

Most of the characters are varying degrees of inept.  In Kareem’s case, we can attribute this to the fact that he’s 12.  You’re not expected to make rational decisions at that age.  Some people can at that age, but that tends to be the exception.  Coffee is just a bumbling idiot.  If the movie took place in a small town, he’d be the police chief’s nephew or something.  This is Detroit.  How did he make it through the academy?

I would say that that the only character that has it all together is Vanessa.  Unfortunately, we don’t see enough of her.  I think it would have been better to pair Coffee with Vanessa instead of Kareem.  But, then we couldn’t have that bad pun of a movie title.  What we end up with is the Dumb and Dumber of buddy cop movies.


Alex Diaz-Granados said...

It's a good thing that there isn't another character in this movie nicknamed "Donut."

Brian Kuhl said...

Maybe they're saving that for the sequel.