But, alas, director Michael Dowse and screenwriter Shane Mack (exposed on the Internet as changing his former screen credit as “Shane McCarthy” to something sounding more ghetto) aren’t so advanced as to subvert the political biases of modern post-Obama journalism. Instead, they follow the blueprint laid out by TV shows such as blackish and the new Lena Waithe series Boomerang in which racial stereotypes are repeated if not stressed as an expression of the new vogue for “representation.”

Dowse and Mack are no different from those Millennial race men and women who are favored as showrunners in Hollywood but who don’t have a grounding of cultural heritage that they can rely on for consistency or ethical inspiration. Back at the beginning of Seventies Blaxploitation, when that movement’s first promise gave opportunity to serious race artists such as Melvin Van Peebles and Ossie Davis, one of the biggest hits was the action-comedy Cotton Comes to Harlem, based on the Chester Himes novel that featured a team of black detectives: Gravedigger Jones (Godfrey Cambridge) and “Coffin” Ed Johnson (Raymond St. Jacques).

This was grown-up, not juvenile, fare. Himes chose names that lampooned the hard-boiled crime genre through ironic black slang; it belonged to an indefinable essence of Davis’s and Van Peebles’s sly folk wisdom. The lack of that essence — misremembering it — was part of the problem with Eddie Murphy’s Netflix project Dolemite Is My Name. And now Coffee & Kareem is another project based entirely on superficial topicality: Detroit as a symbol of urban decay, with a cast of characters caught up in a series of shallow racial and sexual misperceptions, meant to be comic.

Typical of Netflix “movies,” Coffee & Kareem plays like a TV show with perfunctory violent gunplay, or the worst theatrical films (The Hangover, 21 Jump Street, Hustlers) that make hip, progressive points: the kid and the kop becomes buddies like a surreal update of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48HRS. In a strip bar, they meet a dancer who is upwardly mobile, she’s part of the film’s woke feminism, mostly presented by Taraji P. Henson in another unfortunate display of her misdirected intensity.

Coffee & Kareem skips along the thin line between opportunity and humiliation; it keeps Netflix junkies credulous yet incensed.