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coming 2 america

★★

director: Craig Brewer (footloose)

starring: eddie murphy, arsenio hall, shari headley and jermaine fowler

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

The African monarch Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States and must return to America to meet this unexpected heir and build a relationship with his son.

I’ve gotta admit - I've missed Eddie Murphy. Growing up he was one of my favorite comedians (along with Robin Williams and Adam Sandler). And seeing that he had a new film out, especially during a lockdown, filled me with joy. Although there are a few laugh out loud moments they are few and far between as Coming 2 America rehashes the original storyline without bringing that much new material to the franchise.

 

In the sequel to the hit 1988 Coming to America, Coming 2 America is set in the lush and royal country of Zamunda where newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) embark on an all-new adventure that has them traversing the globe from their great African nation to the borough of Queens, New York – where it all began. Under growing political pressure from General Izzi, King Akeem must find a newly discovered male heir to the throne and bring him back to Zamunda to help secure his kingdom.

 

While Coming to America was cutting edge for its time, Coming 2 America feels as if it's a project in nostalgia instead of being something new and fresh. The narrative is kinda the opposite of the original - King Akeem’s son Lavelle is the fish out of water in Zamunda instead of Akeem in Queen’s in the original. But when it appears that Coming 2 America is about to head in a bold direction - either dramatically, thematically or comically - it falters and retreats back to a safe place. Even Snipes’ supposedly menacing General Izzi is no real threat at all. 

 

That’s not to say that Coming 2 America doesn’t have its moments. The brief returns to the Barber Shop are pretty amusing and the dance routines in Zamunda are electrifying musical numbers popping with colour. But unfortunately these moments are too few and far between to save Coming 2 America from being a rather dull affair.

 

Eddie Murphy is somewhat subdued in this appearance but really finds his comedic chops when he’s playing the old barber or Randy Watson, the lead singer of Sexual Chocolate. Arsenio Hall has some hilarious moments as the king’s trusted advisor Semmi and Wesley Snipes tears it up with a whole lot of bark and slick dance moves as General Izzi. 

 

Although there are a few laugh out loud moments they are few and far between as Coming 2 America rehashes the original storyline without bringing that much new material to the franchise.

★★