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Coming 2 America Review: A Lackluster Sequel That Disappoints

Eddie Murphy Coming 2 America

Coming 2 America is a 2021 comedy flick starring Eddie Murphy. The film is a sequel to the much-celebrated 1988 original Coming to America. The film is directed by Craig Brewer. Its screenplay is written by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield. The screenplay is derived from a story co-written by Barry, David, Justin Kanew. The story is itself built upon the original characters created by Eddie Murphy. The film also stars Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Kiki Layne, Shari Headley, Teyana Taylor, and Wesley Snipes. It also stars the legendary voice actor James Earl Jones. Fans have been excited and anticipating the sequel to the original classic. Eddie Murphy has reprised his role of Akeem Joffer along with some other cast members reprising their roles too.

Coming 2 America was released on Amazon’s Prime Video on March 4, 2021. The film was initially slated to be released theatrically by Paramount Pictures. However, like many other projects, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in it being sold off to Amazon Studios. The film was eventually released on Amazon’s Prime Video to generally mixed reviews. The audience aggregate score and the critics’ consensus point to average critical reception. Many critics have panned the movie for its outdated brand of comedy and re-cycled jokes. On the other hand, some have been more welcoming to its use of contemporary feminist messages. Overall, the film is noted to be somewhat of a letdown, considering the classic status of the original one. The performances by the cast are also kind of average.

Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes as General Izzy in Coming 2 America.

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Coming 2 America – Plot Synopsis

It is prince Akeem’s 30th wedding anniversary with his wife Lisa McDowell. Prince Akeem is summoned by his ailing and dying father and the king of Zamunda, Jaffe Joffer. Meeting his father, Akeem encounters Jaffe’s shaman Baba. He discovers a revelation made by the shaman Baba. He tells Akeem that unbeknownst to him, he is a father of a son. The son, he reveals, lives in Queens, New York. This “son” was born during Akeem’s first visit there when he was searching for his future queen. Back during that time, Semmi had arranged for him and Akeem, to spend a night with two women. Akeem doesn’t remember anything because one of the women had apparently drugged him prior to the sexual intercourse.

Eddie Murphy Coming to America

The costumes in Coming 2 America are a treat to the eyes.

Now, it’s a Zamundian tradition that the heir to the throne and successor to the king must be a male. And since Lisa has birthed only daughters, Akeem is forced to go back to Queens and bring his son to the kingdom. Otherwise, he will have to face a military takeover by a neighboring country, Nextdoria. The dictator of Nextdoria, General Izzi, has tried to get Akeem to marry his eldest daughter, Meeka to his son, Idi. Considering this threat, and the tradition, Akeem has no choice but to travel to America and find his son.

Coming to America for the 2nd time

After King Jaffe’s funeral, Akeem is crowned as the new king of Zamunda. He, then, along with Semmi, heads off to Queens to find his illegitimate son. He eventually finds his son, Lavelle Junson, who is a ticket resaler, seeking to find a real employment opportunity. Akeem also reunites with his mother, Mary. Akeem then takes the mother and son along with Lavelle’s uncle Reem to Zamunda. Their arrival is not exactly met with pleasure by Akeem’s family. General Izzi soon gets an air of this and pounces in the opportunity. To lay his claim to the throne, he approaches Lavelle with a wedding proposition for his daughter Bopoto.

However, before Lavelle can ascend to the kingship, he must overcome a series of tests. With the tests being very dangerous, Lavelle, at first, is not very keen on taking them. But he soon strikes a friendship with one of the royal groomers, Mirembe. He tells Lavelle about his father’s quest to find his queen. He also directs and encourages him to find a quest of his own. Slowly but steadily, Lavelle fosters a good relationship with Akeem’s family. After that, he takes on the tests and is able to pass them all. He is subsequently made the prince of Zamunda.

Lavelle’s Withdrawal and Return

However, things take a turn during Lavelle’s accession party. Lavelle sneaks up and overhears a conversation between Akeem and Izzi. The exchange leads him to believe that he’s just a tool for Akeem and nothing else. He is convinced that Akeem is just exploiting him. He then takes her mother and uncle, along with Mirembe, and returns to New York. By this time, though, Lisa had become good friends with Lavelle’s mom, Mary. Lisa is upset at losing her and takes it up with Akeem. She locks him out of their bedroom.

Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy

Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy as Semmi and Akeem.

Akeem then goes to have a little talk with Lisa’s father. He reminds him of late Queen Aolean’s progressive outlook and nature. Akeem finds some clarity after his talk with Lisa’s father and soon heads back to New York. He goes there on his own this time. Akeem leaves Semmi back in Zamunda to stall and fend off Izzi. Meanwhile, Izzi warns to return after one day. He wants his daughter Bopoto married off Lavelle or he will declare war on Zamunda.

Akeem’s Return and the climax

Akeem finally reaches New York. There, he discovers that Lavelle and Mirembe are going to get married. It gives Akeem flashbacks to his own life. He remembers how his own life played out, similar to his son’s now. Touched and reminded of his own life, Akeem gives Lavelle and Mirembe his blessings. He then releases Lavelle of his royal obligations. Meanwhile, Semmi and the princesses are fighting off Izzi. They even manage to subdue Izzi. They then force him to try a bit more peaceful and diplomatic approach.

Akeem finally returns to Zamunda. With a new perspective, Akeem discards the traditional royal succession rule of only having a male heir to the throne. He breaks the tradition by permitting his daughter Meeka to take the throne after his eventual death. He also makes Lavell an ambassador of Zamunda in New York. Elsewhere, Izzi has decided to turn Nextdoria into a peaceful nation and come to amicable terms with Zamunda. The film ends with a huge party at the royal palace.

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Coming 2 America is a disappointing sequel to 1988 classic

Coming 2 America feels like a rehashed version of the original Coming to America. It feels like the plot was created by basically re-packaging many of the same jokes of the 1988 film. And that is too bad since despite being a classic, the original is pretty outdated. Almost all of the jokes fall flat and sometimes make you cringe too. It’s a shame that a film starring Eddie Murphy can’t utilize his and others’ talents. One of the positive things about the movie would be the costumes. The Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter is responsible for the lavish and gorgeous dresses in this film. The regality and royal aesthetic are accentuated by the immaculate dresses the cast members are draped up in. Besides that, though, there really didn’t much to gawk, laugh, or talk about in this disappointing comedy sequel.

The love-story central to this film is not that interesting at all. It pales in comparison to the one that was central to the original one. Lavelle and Mirembe don’t have the same charm that Akeem and Lisa had. The film is also riddled with stereotypes and outdated, cringe-worthy tropes. It paints caricature out of characters and they might not be a bad thing, considering this is a comedy. But that’s the thing, it does achieve any sort of comedy and instead succumbs to the same old clichés. This becomes even more frustrating when the film tries to do a lot of things with feminist and empowerment undertones. All the women-power efforts are incredibly poorly executed. The woke stuff feels like a cheap way of trying to appear conscientious with the current socio-political climate. All in all, it fails to live up to the great reputation of its predecessor.

Coming 2 America is currently streaming on Prime Video

Written By

Hi! Rishabh here. I'm an avid consumer of pop culture, swerving through films, tv, and anime. Being a baccalaureate and writing on eclectic media is going pretty swell so far. You can reach out to me at Rishabh@Otakukart.com.

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