The Sunday Mail
IT is a shame that Terrence Little Gardenhigh’s act in “Coffee and Kareem” might not take his career any further.
In as far as Hollywood names are concerned, Gardenhigh is right up there with iconic names like Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lungdren, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Al Pacino, or more recently Isla Fisher, Kiefer Sutherland, Shia LaBeouf and Soairse Ronan.
However, Gadernhigh might have a name that pops but the kid simply cannot act.
Granted, I am only judging his acting chops from one movie “Coffee and Kareem”, Netflix’s latest buddy romp release, but sometimes one bad movie is all it takes to destroy a growing career.
Set in modern-day Detroit, the film follows 12-year-old Kareem Manning (Gardenhigh), who finds out that his single mother (Taraji P. Henson) is dating a white cop by the name James Coffee (Ed Helms).
Manning then decides to hire known criminal and neighbour — tough guy Orlando Johnson (RonReaco Lee) — to rough up and beat up Coffee.
The meeting goes horribly wrong as Coffee and Kareem soon find themselves on the run, getting chased by a group of dirty cops.
The scriptwriter (Shane Mack) and directors did not do Gadernhigh any good by placing a lot of tasks on his shoulders.
He fails to pull his weight.
Overacting is the kid’s biggest weakness.
It makes him come off unlikeable, especially for his godawful stance like crude sex jokes or the over-portrayal of a clichéd black kid who dreams of being a rapper and is disrespectful to his elders.
Yet again it is still not proper to completely write off the production.
A star-studded cast that includes seasoned vets like David Alan Grier, Helms and Henson, true funnyman Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor and Betty Gilpin gave the film some bright spots.
Helms has made a living playing the loveable goof and brings his A-game as kind-hearted and disaster-prone Coffee, while Henson channels her inner Cookie for her portrayal of the overprotective single mother Vanessa Manning.
Bachelor and Gilpin are the real stars of the film as the two lean into their portrayal, eating up every scene there are in, as clueless henchman Rodney and chief antagonist detective Watts.
Let us just hope Gardenhigh gets to prove his worth in the long run and leaves me with egg on my face.