Coffee & Kareem (2020)

Coffee & Kareem poster

Twelve-year-old Kareem Manning hires a criminal to scare his mom’s new boyfriend -police officer James Coffee – but it backfires, forcing Coffee and Kareem to team up in order to save themselves from Detroit’s most ruthless drug kingpin.

SHORT VERSION

Officer James Coffee (Ed Helms) is a bumbling cop dating Vanessa (Taraji P. Henson). Her son Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) resents this and hates Coffee, and when he goes to pay drug runner and rapper Orlando Johnson (RonReaco Lee) to rough Coffee up, he stumbles onto drugs and dirty cops, leading Coffee and Kareem to race around Detroit trying to stay alive and get to the bottom of it.

It turns out both Coffee’s Captain Hill (David Alan Grier) and nemesis Detective Watts (Betty Gilpin) are dirty, and Watts murders Hill and ultimately kidnaps Vanessa and Kareem. Coffee is able to rescue them and the cops bust Watts’s drug deal, with some help from Johnson, who never really wanted to be in drugs in the first place. Watts survives the explosion of the drug warehouse and emerges to shoot Coffee, but Vanessa shoots her. Kareem finally admits that he’s okay with Coffee dating his mom, and the two fist bump.

MEDIUM VERSION

While police officer James Coffee (Ed Helms) enjoys his new relationship with Vanessa Manning (Taraji P. Henson), her beloved 12-year-old son Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) plots their break-up. Attempting to scare away his mom’s boyfriend for good, Kareem tries to hire criminal fugitive Orlando Johnson (RonReaco Lee) to take him out but accidentally exposes a secret network of criminal activity involving drugs and dirty cops. This makes his family its latest target. To protect Vanessa, Kareem teams up with Coffee – the partner he never wanted – for a dangerous chase across Detroit trying to stay alive.

It is revealed that Coffee’s Captain Hill (David Alan Grier) and Detective Watts (Betty Gilpin) are the bad cops. Watts murders Hill and ultimately kidnaps Vanessa and Kareem. Coffee is able to rescue them and the cops bust Watts’s drug deal, with some help from Johnson, who never really wanted to be in drugs in the first place. Watts survives the explosion of the drug warehouse and shoots Coffee, but Vanessa shoots her. Kareem finally admits that he’s okay with Coffee dating his mom.

LONG VERSION

In Detroit, Officer James Coffee (Ed Helms) goes to his girlfriend Vanessa Manning’s (Taraji P. Henson) house during the day, but as they have sex he thinks he sees Vanessa’s son Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) in the house. Vanessa tells him Kareem is at school, and if he doesn’t accept Kareem as part of her life they can’t be together. Meanwhile, at school, he complains to his friend Dominic (Chance Hurstfield) about seeing his mom dating a white guy and even worse dating a cop, which would be terrible for his aspiring rap career. He resolves to get revenge on Coffee by getting gangsters to mess him up.

Detective Linda Watts (Betty Gilpin) leads a raid on rapper Orlando Johnson (RonReaco Lee) and arrests him in a massive drug bust. Watts lets Coffee take him in the back of his cruiser to go to jail, but Johnson breaks out and steals Coffee’s own car out from under him, which goes viral on YouTube. Coffee complains to Captain Hill (David Alan Grier) about Watts’s verbal abuse and constant belittling, including bringing up his ex-wife’s cheating on him, but Watts continues to chew out Coffee for his incompetence and losing her arrest. Hill reassigns Coffee to traffic cop duty and the whole police station mockingly applauds Coffee on his way out.

Vanessa calls Coffee and tells him Kareem asked for him to pick him up from school. Coffee is uncomfortable, but when Vanessa is disappointed he doesn’t want to connect with her son, he agrees, but doesn’t tell her he’s now on traffic duty. After doing a rap as a poetry presentation, Kareem gets picked up by Coffee – where he pretends he’s being arrested to look tough in front of his classmates. Kareem is hostile to Coffee, and purposely directs him to drive a boxing gym where he has discovered Orlando Johnson is hiding out. Johnson and his two lackeys Dee and Rodney (William ‘Big Sleeps’ Stewart, Andrew Bachelor) have a cop tied up and beaten. He tells them that Coffee tried to molest him and he offers them money to beat him up. The cop pleads with them to let him go, that his boss will come after all of them, and Dee shoots the cop to death. Hearing the gunshots, Coffee goes in, leading to a firefight that Coffee and Kareem manage to flee from, breaking into a trunk of a car to hide.

From the trunk, Coffee calls Watts and tells her about Orlando, but Kareem realizes the cop that died was a dirty cop and that they can’t trust anyone and forces him to hang up. Kareem also realizes he left his phone when they fled, which had his information and video of the murder – he knows his mom might be in danger. They bang on the trunk until the driver pulls over, and they commandeer the car and drive off. They go to Vanessa’s place and pretend nothing is wrong, until Vanessa gets an amber alert for Kareem. They turn on the TV and see the news reporting that Coffee had a psychotic break and kidnapped Kareem. Vanessa calls 911, and refuses to leave just as Johnson and his men arrive. Kareem takes Coffee’s taser and tases Vanessa, shocking Coffee, and Coffee carries her as they flee out the back.

They head to a motel, where on the TV, they see Coffee is now also being framed for the dirty cop’s murder. Coffee pleads with Kareem to work with him, and Kareem agrees on the condition that Coffee never see Vanessa again and that he take him to strip club, which he reluctantly agrees to. They leave a note for Vanessa explaining everything and track Kareem’s phone to where Johnson is. Kareem counsels Coffee that the way not to get bullied is to be aggressive and very gay, like Mike Tyson. Coffee orders Kareem to stay in the car, but he follows him inside the gang’s hideout, where the drugs are being produced. Kareem distracts the guards with dirty talk and Coffee knocks them out, one by one. Coffee encounters Johnson and they get into a huge fight, but Kareem gets Johnson at gunpoint.

They tie him up, and Coffee tries to interrogate Johnson about the truth behind the drugs and dirty cops. Johnson isn’t intimidated by Coffee, but Kareem keeps shit-talking. Finally, Coffee follows Kareem’s advice and tells Johnson how he’s in love with him – in a more romantic way than Kareem’s “gay and aggressive” way. Eventually, they realize Kareem’s phone is up Johnson’s butt. They convince Johnson that the video is the only thing proving he didn’t shoot the cop and when they threaten to delete it, Coffee says Watts is the dirty cop running all the drugs. Johnson begs Coffee to protect him – he agrees, and loads Johnson into the trunk of his car. Elsewhere, Dee and Rodney, having been tipped off when the motel clerk called the police, go to Vanessa’s motel room to kindap her.

Meanwhile, Coffee calls Hill and tells him to come meet him in secret. He takes Kareem to a strip club, where he tells Kareem how his own stepdad beat him mom and Hill used to come break it up, and that’s when he decided to be a cop. He tells him he doesn’t really think he could be a good dad anyway, and has no interest in being Kareem’s dad. He also talks to Kareem about girls, and pays a stripper to role play a conversation with him. Hill arrives with Watts, and when Coffee pulls a gun on Watts, Hill pulls a gun on him, revealing himself to also be a dirty cop in on the scheme. Watts shoots Hill in the head, planning to also frame Coffee for that as well. Coffee tries to fight, giving Kareem the chance to free, but Watts shoots him in the shoulder. She holds him at gunpoint and demands Kareem show himself or she’ll kill Coffee. Kareem arrives driving Watts’s cop car and hits her, and he and Coffee drive away.

Watts finds Johnson in the trunk and orders him to drive that car to chase after them, leading to a long shootout and car chase. Eventually, Kareem’s erratic driving causes Watts and Johnson to crash, giving Coffee and Kareem a chance to get away. They go to the motel room where they discover Vanessa has been taken. Kareem is devastated and begins crying, and Coffee tries to console him. Kareem wants to go after him, but when Coffee tries to stop him, they get into a huge fight that ends with Coffee telling Kareem he’s going to dump Vanessa anyway – just as Vanessa walks in. Flashbacks reveal that when Dee and Rodney arrived, Vanessa beat the living hell out of them and tied them up in her car. Vanessa, angry at Coffee for what she heard, takes Kareem and drives off – but Watts’s henchmen arrive and kidnap Vanessa and Kareem as Coffee watches helpless.

He calls Watts and tells her he’s going to trade his life for Vanessa and Kareem. He drives up and demands that Vanessa and Kareem be released and he will turn himself over. When Watts threatens to shoot Kareem right there, Coffee pulls the triggers out of two grenades and begins walking over. Watts tells everyone Coffee is bluffing, and Dee shoots Coffee in the shoulder. He drops the grenades and panics, kicking them towards the drug dealers – one blows Dee to pieces, and much of the drugs are bloodied and burned. The other gives Coffee time to get Vanessa and Kareem and run away, Watts is furious about the drugs she’s about to sell being dirtied, and orders Johnson to go after and kill Coffee, Kareem, and Vanessa. When he seems uneasy, she promotes Rodney over him, and Rodney tells Johnson to kill them.

Johnson finds them and holds them at gunpoint. Vanessa realizes Johnson is just like Kareem – insecure and acting tough to put a front up, and convinces him not to kill them. Johnson admits he’s never shot anyone and really just wanted to be a dentist, and he agrees to help them. The Canadians Watts is selling to arrive, and due to the damage to the drugs, Watts offers him 25 percent off. He accepts, but the Detroit metro police arrive leading to a giant shootout and explosions. Kareem and Vanessa escape to safety, but Coffee gets held up by Watts. During the fight, the briefcase of money gets opened, and Watts scrambles for the money as the building explodes. As Vanessa and Kareem watch in horror, Coffee emerges on fire, extremely badly burned but alive. Rodney escapes with some cocaine, Johnson is made an official informant by the police. Coffee asks Vanessa to marry him, and she jokes she’ll have to wait to see how his face heals up. Watts emerges from the fire, still alive, ready to shoot Coffee, but Vanessa grabs his gun and shoots her repeatedly until she does down. Kareem agrees that it’s okay for Coffee to keep seeing his mother, and they fist bump.

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