The last time we saw Eddie Murphy, he was starring in the terrific Dolemite Is My Name in 2019. Murphy brought his A-game in that role, so it was exciting to hear he was putting together Coming 2 America (now available on Amazon Prime Video.) Murphy once again plays Prince Akeem (along with many other roles), and Arsenio Hall returns from wherever he's been hiding to play Akeem's adviser Semmi (also along with many other roles.) Honestly, it's not clear that anyone was asking for a sequel to Coming To America some 33 years after the original was released. (A fact that the movie itself jokes about.) However, in the pandemic age, we say look for laughs wherever you can find them.
Akeem learns that he has a long-lost son from his original trip to the United States, and he must bring Lavelle Junson (played by Jermaine Fowler) back to his homeland in order to protect the line of succession in Zamunda. That irritates Akeem's daughter Meeka, (played by KiKi Lane), who has spent her entire life preparing to be the queen of her country. You can probably guess what happens in 95% of the movie just from that summary. The script is not the strength of Coming 2 America. It's predictable, and a lot of it feels like it was written in 1992 at the latest. It hits all of the beats you would expect, without necessarily doing enough work to get to each one of them.
However, one can argue that doesn't really matter.
This movie feels like Eddie Murphy created a project where he could invite a group of friends to have a good time shooting for a few weeks. It looks like he accomplished his mission. Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan bring some edge to the party as Lavelle's mom and uncle. They both should have had more screen time, but they make you laugh when they have the chance. Wesley Snipes seems to be having a great time as General Izzi. There are a number of fun dance numbers, a handful of entertaining cameos, and a spirited soundtrack. If you see it more like the aforementioned party than an actual movie, you'll find yourself laughing at more of the silliness.
Coming 2 America will not win any awards. However, if you still think it's funny when Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall play other characters, this is a fine way to pass some time at home.
They're back. (pic via vulture.com)
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