Almost 33 years after the original Coming to America, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise their roles as Prince Akeem and his loyal servant Semmi for long-awaited comedy sequel Coming 2 America.
After delays in its release and an exclusive deal, the movie is finally coming to Amazon Prime Video tomorrow (March 5). But does the movie live up to its classic romantic comedy counterpart?
Set after the events that took place in Queens, New York, the now King Akeem goes on a journey back to the land of the free in search of his previously unknown son and heir to the throne, street savvy Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler).
After a brief explanation of the events that took place between Akeem and Lavelle’s mum Mary (Leslie Jones), the mother and son duo are initially hesitant over the whole Royal-heir state of affairs. But after a seeing an eyewatering amount of money drop from clumsy Semmi's briefcase, they don't take much more convincing, and they swiftly join King Akeem and his Royal aide on a private jet back to Zamunda.
Each act of the movie flows quickly, but there isn't much of an opportunity to feel and understand the chemistry between characters, nor does it have the strong messaging and charisma of the '80s original. It's also difficult not to notice some of the sexism is still present. However, by the movie's end, this is at least addressed.
Murphy plays more of a mature role, as you'd expect, trying to live up to traditional expectations placed on him by his father King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), and we watch his development as he reckons with his shortcomings as a husband, King and father.
But the real focus of the movie is Lavelle (Fowler), thrust from his regular life in Queens to becoming the future King of Zamunda, and finding true love – a story that echoes, in reverse, the first movie.
It's hard not to be entertained by the star-studded cast: General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), Uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan), as well as the return of the My-T-Sharp barbers Mr Clarence (Murphy) and Morris (Hall) as well as the return of Cleo McDowell (John Amos), his loyal employee Maurice (Louie Anderson) and King Joffer's royal servant Oha (Paul Bates).
Yet the true winners in the movie are the Black female characters, including Queen Lisa (Shari Headley) who remains the same loving and determined woman from Queens, her daughters Meeka (KiKi Layne), Omma (Bella Murphy) and Tinashe (Akiley Love), and Leslie Jones' humorous and energetic Mary.
Coming 2 America doesn't entirely capture the magic of its predecessor. But, fans of the original will enjoy the modern twist and callbacks to the first movie sprinkled throughout.
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