STARRING: EDDIE MURPHY, ARSENIO HALL, JERMAINE FOWLER, SHARI HEADLEY, WESLEY SNIPES, AND JAMES EARL JONES
DIRECTOR: CRAIG BREWER
DATE: MARCH 5, 2021
Eddie Murphy has been a veteran in comedy for years, going from standup comic, to joining Saturday Night Live, to making some of the most hilarious films in cinema. By the 1980s, Murphy dominated the comedy genre with his most recognizable films such as 48 Hrs., Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and Coming to America. However, after the critical failure from his 2007 film, Norbit, he spent the next 7 years taking a break from films all together. As the times have changed, so did people’s taste in comedy and only in the last decade has he attempted to make a comeback with original content. Now in the era of Hollywood reviving old franchises with either overdue sequels or unnecessary reboots, Murphy has returned with a sequel to his beloved classic, Coming 2 America.
Coming 2 America beings in the fictitious African country known as Zamunda 30 years after the previous film. The opening scene shows Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his wife Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley) being awakened by their royal heralds announcing that today is their wedding anniversary. The royal couple celebrated by spending the majority of their day together with their three daughters. As the Prince enjoys his needed family time, Akeem’s comrade Semmi (Arsenio Hall) has urgent news that he has a surprise guest entering the kingdom. The matter itself affects the entire country of Zamunda.
General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), leader of the fictitious African country known as Nextdooria, is seen having a meeting with Prince Akeem about joining their two families together by an arranged marriage through their children. Since Prince Akeem never had any sons to take up the mantle, General Izzi offers his son to marry the Prince’s oldest daughter. The Prince immediately declines the General’s offer due to his son’s disrespectful behavior. The General doesn’t take his rejection well, so he threatens the Prince.
Prince Akeem is next seen standing over his father’s, King Jaffe Joffer’s (James Earl Jones) death bed explaining the matter about Nextdooria. The King is worried that his son Akeem is too weak to rule over Zamunda after he is gone and that he had no male heirs to maintain the tradition of royalty. However, Semmi revealed that Akeem not having a son is not entirely true. Semmi confessed that years ago, he arranged for the Prince to have a one-night stand with a woman back in America and believes that she may have actually birthed Akeem’s son (Jermaine Fowler) in the process. Now Akeem and Semmi have to travel back to America to get his long lost son so he can fulfill his family heritage.
Coming 2 America is a mediocre sequel compared to the previous installment that hardly adds anything new to comedy. While it is very commendable that the entire cast returned for the sequel, it overly relies on nostalgia to keep the audience’s attention. The cast did a fine job, but the overall atmosphere was awkward. Older fans may give their praise, but there’s no guarantee that this installment will attract new fans anytime soon. Some films just don’t need a sequel, especially if they’re decades old.