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coffee & kareem seemed funny to me when i played the netflix trailer of it. the setup seems somewhat promising: cop and kid on the run after they both witness a cop being murdered. the movie is not as promising as its setup.
i feel so bad for terrence little gardenhigh, who plays kareem. i have no clue why a screenplay where the writers idea of a black kid is one where the kid is the target of fat jokes while the same kid is a horrid cross between the freeman brothers from the boondocks with added homophobic jokes was approved. but it was. and its on netflix, the same streaming service that prides itself on things like a whole category of tv shows and movies featuring positive lgbt+ representation. hopefully gardenhigh was paid to spout this dreck in a movie.
why the other people involved in this movie are beyond me. officer james coffee (yes, thats the characters name, played by ed helms) is initially shown as a bumbling cop who accidentally lets a stereotypical rapper/trapper go after said rapper was arrested. but actually,,, hes a good cop! his supervisor, although more competent than coffee, is actually a dirty cop who set up a cop to be murdered and smears coffee by saying hes a psychotic child kidnapper (of kareem). and coffees not a racist because he dates vanessa, a black woman! he literally says something similar to the previous statement in the movie. most of the other minor characters are also written stereotypically, including various people that appear to be criminals (one literally has an orange slice on his face, the movies attempt to make fun of tear-shaped facial tattoos) and a black man who drives a car where somehow coffee and kareem end up in the cars trunk (hes a “good” black character because he wears a bill cosby-style sweater and listens to classical music. i guess the idea of “americas dad” hasnt ended with cosby literally being prosecuted for sexual assault and going to jail for it). yes, the people who appear to be criminals are a part of a plot twist.
david alan grier shows up as a police captain and is involved in a plot twist. he mercifully doesnt show up a lot. taraji p. henson is prominently featured in a lot of the promotional material in this movie. she plays kareems mother, vanessa. its the first time im happy a female character has been underwritten in a movie. what little she has to work with is cringeworthy, but she delivers it consistently. and because her character is so underwritten, she doesnt appear in about 10-15 minutes of this awful movie.
to conclude, i will admit some of the background music is good. but coffee & kareem premiering literally a week after uncorked, a more nuanced movie about a black man trying to be a master sommelier but is tied down by his familys memphis barbecue business, is giving me figurative whiplash.
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