Updated: March 7, 2021 8:45:08 am
Coming 2 America director: Craig Brewer
Coming 2 America cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne
Coming 2 America rating: 1.5
There is a scene in Coming 2 America in which a character derides Hollywood as an industry that spews out little more than superhero movies, remakes and, most importantly here, sequels to classic movies to cash in on to the nostalgia factor. In this scene, the movie appears to be chiding itself for existing.
Sadly, Coming 2 America is a largely unfunny film with paper-thin characters, a ludicrously predictable script that apparently did not progress beyond the first draft, and utterly, utterly devoid of the original’s charm. What saves it from becoming a total slog is the performances, particularly that of Eddie Murphy.
Murphy is back as the Prince Akeem of Zamunda in Coming 2 America, the sequel to 1988’s wildly successful comedy Coming to America. Well, he is back for at least half of the movie.
The story takes place three decades after the original. Akeem has three daughters now but no son to pass his throne to. His dying father, the King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), informs him of a bastard son he conceived in Queens, New York while having a drug-addled one-night stand.
And he leaves for America to bring back his son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler). Lavelle, initially delighted with the perks that come with being a prince, soon becomes disillusioned with the whole thing and wants to go back to his old life.
Meanwhile, the eldest daughter of Akeem, Princess Meeka Joffer (KiKi Layne) is a capable young woman who has grown up wanting to be the queen, but Zamunda’s traditions dictate that only men can be monarchs.
It all must have sounded good on paper, and certainly this was why the movie was given a go-ahead. But everything, with emphasis on everything, is haphazard. There is a hodgepodge of characters and events, but everything is treated cursorily. More Murphy could have saved the movie, but he doesn’t have enough screen time.
There are odd moments of genuine hilarity, but they come far and few between. Most of the humour is outdated it feel as if the movie is still stuck in the late 1980s. Despite its relatively short runtime and quick pace, Coming 2 America is a chore to sit through. This is all the more surprising considering this creative team is behind 2019’s Murphy gem Dolemite Is My Name as well.
Watch Coming 2 America only if you really want to revisit a few old characters and do not have anything better to do with your time.
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