Movie Plot – Coming 2 America: The African prince Akeem learns that he has a long-lost son in the United States and must return to America to meet this unexpected heir and establish a relationship with his son.
Director: Craig Brewer
Writers: Eddie Murphy, Barry W. Blaustein, Justin Kanew, Kenya Barris, David Sheffield
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, Jermaine Flower, Leslie Jones, Kiki Layne, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones
Thirty-three years after Coming to America, little seems to have changed in Zamunda. The huge palace is still an excess of luxury, Prince Akeem is still under great pressure from his father, and arranged marriages are still practiced. Little seems to have changed at all in the entire sequel film. The opening scene is almost identical. The jokes and characters are the same, only the roles are now reversed. Akeem turns out to have an illegitimate son in Queens who has a chance at the position of crown prince. The culture shock from the first film came from the privileged rich prince going to Queens, but now it is the underprivileged boy, Lavelle Junson, from Queens who gets to experience Zamunda’s wealth.
America plays a much smaller role, as now the fictional empire of Zamunda takes center stage. The first film was already fairly lacking in satire, and there is none to be found here either, unless you have women’s rights in Zamunda high on your agenda. Perhaps, then, satire is not the strong suit of these films. Still, there is plenty to laugh about.
The many characters
A number of funny characters by Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall return, such as the elderly Jewish Saul who is portrayed strongly and totally unrecognizable by Murphy. The funny supporting characters of yesteryear, think the owner of McDowell’s and the great James Earl Jones, are also back. It’s basically a big rehash of the jokes from the first film, but it’s still nice to see the same actors still having fun. Coming 2 America has also opened up a huge can of cameos and supporting characters which makes for even more witty moments.
The original, after a reasonable beginning with funny scenes, quickly degenerates into a mediocre romantic film, and the sequel actually suffers the same fate. Lavelle is in danger of being married off, after which the same trajectory follows. More to the fore is the inner conflict of Akeem as the new ruler and the fact that he makes the same mistakes as his father. I actually liked that he realized he was turning into his father when he actually didn’t mean and want to.
However, it is a pleasure to see the types from the first film again. Most are still entertaining, even if they don’t always get the best jokes. The screenplay is mediocre but still funny if you like 90s humor. The addition of Wesley Snipes was also a joy for me as I loved him in this role. I have never seen him in such a light, fun role.
Is Coming 2 America as funny or as good as the original? No, never was going to be either. However, I found it to be entertaining & funny, with some good links to the original.