Coming 2 America

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

It’s been 33 years and Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem. He’s supported once again by Arsenio Hall as his trusted confidant Semmi. I regard Coming to America as a classic and easily among the Top 5 movies Eddie Murphy ever made. The R-rated farce admittedly had a couple adult scenes and some coarse language, but it was mostly a warm, good-natured comedy full of heart.

In this continuation, the two must traverse again to America from their country of Zamunda. Prince Akeem has just become the supreme ruler upon the death of his father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones). Akeem has recently discovered he sired an illegitimate son when he visited Queens in the 1980s. As the newly appointed King, he must make arrangements for a suitable successor. Incidentally, Akeem has three fiercely independent daughters that are all strong and intelligent. First-born Princess Meeka Joffer (KiKi Layne) is more than capable. Ah but sadly tradition demands that only a man can inherit the throne. So off he goes to locate his “bastard son” (Akeem’s words, not mine). The King finds his offspring surprisingly quickly and takes Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) along with his mother Mary (Leslie Jones) and Uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan) back to Zamunda.

Culture clash shenanigans ensue as Lavelle is groomed to be royalty. These developments include a bride named Bopoto (Teyana Taylor) that has been pre-selected for him. She is the daughter of General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) and this marriage will unite the kingdom of Zamunda with neighboring Nextdoria. Surprise! Lavelle isn’t too keen on this predetermined match. He’s in love with his Zamundan hairdresser, Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha). I needn’t continue to illustrate how familiar this saga sounds. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The filmmakers can’t even be bothered with a new title. Coming 2 America just replaces a preposition with a number. That’s the level of creativity used for the entire production.

Coming 2 America is a blatant ripoff of the original. This quite possibly ranks among the laziest copies I’ve ever seen. Screenwriters Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield have returned and they are now assisted by Kenya Barris (ABC sitcom Black-ish). They merely recreate the narrative with minimal changes. The main difference is how much country-hopping they do. The adventure blissfully bounces from Zamunda to Queens, then back to Zamunda where most of the action takes place. Then it’s off to Queens for the climax only to retire in Zamunda for the finish.

The drama is filled with antics that no rational (or principled) person should be forced to accept. Anyone who saw the first flick knew that Akeem was far more progressive than his father. For example, arranged marriages were not his thing. I mean that belief formed the entire thrust of the previous film. However, this account requires that he forget all of that and promote the intolerance of his father to make this outdated premise work once again. Akeem has now embraced the mindset he once rallied against. It gets worse.

Let’s consider the deed that sets the plot in motion. How could Akeem have a son he knew nothing about? Apparently, Lavelle’s mother Mary put Akeem into a drug-induced stupor and sexually assaulted him while he was passed out unconscious. In the real world, she would be arrested for date rape but in this movie, the act is casually presented as a throwaway bit to justify why he now has a male heir. There are gags about circumcision and transgender surgery too. If all that’s not dreadful enough, Eddie Murphy isn’t even the focus here. It’s actor Jermaine Fowler as his son. He’s playing the same role in a remix of the established story with only slight manipulation of the previous jokes. When Lavelle’s mother takes a bath, this time it’s a MALE servant who informs her, “The royal privates are clean.” Oh so clever.

Coming 2 America is awful. The script still carelessly glides through all of this dreck with a sunny, upbeat attitude. The reprehensible bits only become troublesome if you stop to contemplate them. This is a movie that asks viewers to tolerate ridiculous situations and biases. I simply couldn’t surrender to the irksome requirements of the film. This is recycled dross. But let’s end on a positive note, shall we? At least it’s one of those sequels that doesn’t require you have seen part 1 to understand it. Oh, and the costumes by Ruth Carter (Malcolm X, Amistad, Black Panther) are fantastic.

03-05-21

2 Responses to “Coming 2 America”

  1. I’ve been hesitant to watch this as I’ve heard it stomps all over the original, your review backed up this decision

    Like

    • Yes. This is good advice or all: if you’ve seen the original, then no reason to watch this because it’s just another version of the same story. If you haven’t, then watch that. It’s far superior.

      Liked by 1 person

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