Coming 2 America (2021)

Coming 2 America (2021)

Climbing on the bizarre modern bandwagon of nostalgically recreating the original, or producing a sequel for 1980s movies (Ghostbusters, Dune), Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall return as Prince Akeem of Zamunda and his aide Semmi in Coming 2 America.

Taking place 30 years after Coming to America, this sequel features much the same cast as the original as Akeem and wife Lisa (Shari Headley) prepare to take over Zamunda as the King (James Earl Jones) is close to death. Meanwhile, military leader General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) from the neighbouring country Nextdoria is vowing to wage war against Zamunda unless he and Akeem can tie their families together in marriage.

Unlike many contemporary versions of 1980s films, Coming 2 America opts to provide a straight sequel, with the same time gap in the movies as between release dates. It's a dangerous ploy; updating the humour to modern standards too much will alienate the original's fans, and recycling jokes from three decades ago risks turning away a younger audience.

It is clear from the opening sequence that the film - perhaps unsurprisingly - opts for the latter as a familiar line from the bathing girls greets Akeem. The in-jokes and references continue throughout and, while questions over political correctness may nag at the back of your mind on occasion, most will hit the mark.

At one point the film risks blindly walking down the male-preference primogeniture rabbit hole threatening itself with accusations of sexism and prejudice, but - just about - handles the situation delicately and walks away without too much harm done.

Coming 2 America is silly, but remains respectful and steers away from the vulgarity that has plagued Eddie Murphy's comedy for years. In fact, Murphy reverts to what he has become respected for throughout his career - goofing around - and delivers his best performance since 2001's Shrek, and best in-person performance since 1996's The Nutty Professor.

The biggest nag with Coming 2 America is that the film demands you watch Coming to America first. However, the jokes hit harder and funnier if you do, and if you don't understand or like the original, then there is no need for you to watch this.

3 stars

Comments

  1. Great review. 3-stars seems about fair, although I'd say that Eddie Murphy's best performance since Shrek was in Dreamgirls and more recently in Dolemite is my Name.

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