Comedy Coming 2 America

Review: ‘Coming 2 America’ is an Enjoyable Followup That Falls Just Short of Being Another Comedy Classic

March 6, 2021Ben MK

There are two types of movies — those that are timeless and those that are a product of their time. But although Eddie Murphy's 1988 comedy classic Coming to America unequivocally falls into the former category, can the same be said of My Name is Dolemite director Craig Brewer's three-decades-later followup?

Arriving precisely 33 years after the original, Coming 2 America finds Zamunda's Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) at a very different place in his life compared to when we first met him. Now happily married to his true love, Lisa (Shari Headley), and the proud father to three children of his own — daughters Tinashe (Akiley Love), Omma (Bella Murphy) and Meeka (KiKi Layne) — it would seem that Akeem has it all figured out. But when his own beloved father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), passes away, it quickly becomes clear that there's one thing that has eluded Akeem — a male heir.

Enter Akeem's loyal friend and aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), with startling news — a retcon of the first film's narrative that sends the pair jetting back to Queens, New York to find the illegitimate son that Akeem never knew he had. But will this potential heir, a disenfranchised young man named Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), accept the destiny that his biological father has in mind for him? And will Akeem's oldest daughter, Meeka, be willing to let a total stranger step in to claim the throne that she herself has been preparing for her entire life?

Throw in an over-the-top Wesley Snipes as General Izzi, the war-hungry dictator of the neighboring nation of Nextdoria, Leslie Jones as Lavelle's mom, Mary, and Tracy Morgan as his uncle Reem — not to mention a host of returning cast members from the original, a handful of grin-worthy cameos. and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it crossover with another Eddie Murphy classic, Trading Places — and you have the makings of a sequel that's poised to be just as enjoyable as its predecessor. Yet, despite the pedigree of talent both on and off-screen, the result somehow falls just short of the mark.

That said, Coming 2 America is no mere McDowell's knockoff of the original's McDonald's formula. For you have to at least give the filmmakers credit for attempting to bring the story full circle and for trying to include more of a female-centric angle this time around. Ultimately, however, just how funny viewers find the movie will depend on how much serious social commentary they're willing to tolerate along with their satire.

Coming 2 America is now streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and drug content. Its runtime is 1 hr. 50 min.

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