Coming 2 America is, understandably, the sequel to 1988’s Coming To America, released at a time when Eddie Murphy films were still riding high, all of which seemed to fall off a cliff with 1991’s Harlem Nights.
As we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, this follow-up has come to Amazon Prime Video rather than release in cinemas, but can it bring Mr Murphy back to the fore?
Setting the scene, the opening Paramount logo, atop the mountain, gives way to the opening credits which zoom across the land, settling on the King’s palace where petals are still dropped at the feet of the residents, and there are pictures from the original film adorning mantelpieces.
King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) is about to shuffle off his mortal coil soon, and the bombshell is dropped that Akeem (Eddie Murphy) he has a son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler). For reasons that’ll become clear, the son will inherit the throne, rather than the expected successor, and he has to pass the Princely test, which is basically about acting like a prince, along with a silly dare. Meanwhile, Jaffe wants to have his funeral while he’s alive, which reminds me of a Chris Morrison Jam sketch, below.
Wesley Snipes phones it in, like everyone else, with a relative bit part as General Izzi, upset because Akeem never married his daughter, thus their two countries have been at war for the past two decades. However, he can make it up to him by ensuring his newly-discovered offspring does that instead?
The jokes are rather hit and miss. It’s Akeem (Murphy) and Lisa’s (Shari Headley) 30th wedding anniversary, and in a bid to be ‘carbon neutral’, McDowells now serves burgers made out of… grass, while the prince is out of touch because he enjoyed being ‘on fleek’, but this three daughters tell him that term no longer is a thing.
There’s also a big fuss about how the lad is a “bastard” (i.e. out of wedlock), but they’ll use the word until it snaps.
Coming 2 America has frequent callbacks to the original – such as the woman who was instructed to bark like a dog, and the men from the barbershop – along with similar plot devices, plus a number of clips from the first film, which is often a sign of “We’ve run out of ideas for the sequel”, albeit one clip which introduces Leslie Jones‘ (going from Unfunny Shouty Woman #4 in the risible Ghostbusters 2016 to Unfunny Shouty Woman #1) character – as Lavelle’s mother, Mary – with the two male leads’ 1980s faces superimposed on them instead. At least, I don’t recall such a scene from back then, and Ms Jones certainly wouldn’t have looked the same in 1988 as she does now. However, about this paragraph, there is a reference to films which spawn “sequels to movies which no-one asked for”.
A callback to the Duke Brothers’ from Trading Places was welcome, though, albeit brief.
En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa are also thrown into the mix to remind us that it used to be the ’80s, while Gladys Knight is also brought in.
Note that this sequel is a 12-cert rather than a 15-cert, as there’s no f-words, nor topless female nudity – even though topless male nudity is somehow allowed.
Coming 2 America passes two hours, but there’s not too much in the way of actual America in it. In fact, the first film was all about the Akeem and Semmi struggling to fit in with regular America, but this sequel just rattles along, taking the Zamunda bits and expanding upon them slightly. It’s watchable, but had it not been made, I wouldn’t be clamouring for it.
As you’d expect, there are outtakes during the end credits, including one post-credit scene.
Many thanks to our friends at Amazon Prime Video for being able to check this film out prior to release.
Running time: 109 minutes
Release date: March 5th 2021
Studio: Amazon Prime Video
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1 (Redcode RAW (8K))
Director: Craig Brewer
Producer: Kevin Misher
Story: Barry W Blaustein, David Sheffield, Justin Kanew
Characters: Eddie Murphy
Screenplay: Barry W Blaustein, David Sheffield, Kenya Barris
Music: Jermaine Stegall
Akeem / Clarence / Saul / Randy Watson: Eddie Murphy
Semmi / Morris / Reverend Brown / Farmer 1 / Baba / Semmi PDBL: Arsenio Hall
Lisa: Shari Headley
General Izzi: Wesley Snipes
Rose Bearer Priestess: Garcelle Beauvais
King Jaffe Joffer: James Earl Jones
Lyft Driver: David Lengel
Cleo McDowell: John Amos
Imani Izzi: Vanessa Bell Calloway
Sweets: Clint Smith
Meeka: KiKi Layne
Oha: Paul Bates
Maurice: Louie Anderson
Mary Junson: Leslie Jones
Uncle Reem: Tracy Morgan
Lavelle Junson: Jermaine Fowler
Bopoto: Teyana Taylor
Idi Izzi: Rotimi Akinosho
Mirembe: Nomzamo Mbatha
Livia: Luenell Campbell
Omma: Bella Murphy
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.