I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely stoked that Eddie Murphy is back. He’s one of the greatest comedic actors, and just generally, people, of our generation. The films he’s made over the years, still bring laughs, and while some of them might not age as well (Beverly Hills Cop 3), we still love him. Coming 2 America isn’t his first film, post-return. For a sequel to a film that’s nearly 35 years old, it holds the feeling and fun of that first film. Coming To America is a comedy classic from 1988. This film doesn’t reach the heights of that film, but it might end up being more accessible.
The film comes to Amazon Prime Video and while it might not be the raunchy comedy that you’re used to from today’s crowd, it still has that Eddie Murphy charm. Aside from Murphy, the rest of the cast performs admirably as well.
The Cast Of Coming 2 America
Eddie Murphy highlights the cast, but it also stars: Arsenio Hall, Wesley Snipes, Tracey Morgan, Leslie Jones, Shari Headley, and James Earl Jones. Eddie Murphy might be the headliner for the film, but the real star here is Jermaine Fowler. He plays the son, Lavelle, that King Akeem is looking for and that the whole story surrounds. He plays a great fish out of water that turns into a well-rounded character by the end of the film. I won’t be spoiling anything that happens throughout the film. If he wasn’t a great performance, the whole movie would fall flat.
For an Eddie Murphy film, he actually doesn’t hold most of the comedic weight in it. That might sound like a dig, but Murphy’s character isn’t meant to act as the ultimate comic relief in this story. He’s the bewildered new King trying to make his way through that. The real comedy lifting is done by Leslie Jones and Tracey Morgan throughout the film. In his turn as other characters in the film, Murphy gets his chance to shine. He turns in nine different performances here. Other than Akeem, all of them are short scenes or cameos especially at the end of the film.
Jones and Morgan are where the real comedy comes out though. Morgan plays Lavelle’s Uncle Reem and Jones plays his mom, Mary. Jones is where you get a lot of the verging on “R” rated humor. So the title might say this is “family friendly” but some of the jokes are definitely on the borderline. Morgan’s performance that plays off Arsenio Hall’s Semmi, is where the physical comedy of the film shines. These two hate each other, and it’s where you get some of the funniest moments in the film.
A 1988 Movie With A 2021 Story
The story of Coming 2 America tells a tale that we’re all familiar with these days. It’s about breaking down certain antiquated traditions and bringing in new blood. Wesley Snipes’s General Izzi is threatening to invade Zamunda with his army if his daughter doesn’t marry Akeem’s son. That’s the whole crux of the story and it works pretty well for the whole run of the film. The film might not be as dirty, raunchy, or over the top as some comedies these days. But in the arms race of comedy, sometimes the simple stuff works. Tracey Morgan is absolutely hilarious at every point he’s on screen.
The focus on his daughters and how they fit into the film is really what draws this one away from the 80’s variants on comedy. This isn’t a story that people are going to complain is being shoved down their throats, it handles it with grace, class, and it’s subtle. Most of all, it just flat out works.
Does It Crap On The Original’s Legacy?
In the course of time, anytime a movie gets a sequel after a long while, the question has to be asked: does it live up? In the case of the first Coming To America, that film set the bar for comedy in the 80’s. It’s bar that was set many times by Eddie Murphy, but it definitely set a bar. This time around, the film doesn’t reach that high bar on comedy, but it doesn’t ruin anything. The film does a good job of giving you enough of the old with the new that it works. It’s not a quick cash grab by the filmmakers, it’s a film with heart and soul. It also gives you a classic tale that could set up for a third film if they wanted to. There are a lot of avenues for this story to continue.
Also, if they go that route of a third film, they’re not really shackled down by the weight of the first film. This movie already took the brunt of that, so the third film has all the freedom it could want. For that, Coming 2 America works and works well. It does the job of living up to the hype of a sequel to a film that’s 30 years old. The movie builds upon what the first set up and makes it it’s own.
So if you’re looking for a fun film to make you feel better after a rough day, or you’re trying to recapture that hilarity of 30 years ago, Coming 2 America is the prescription you need.
Check out our video review of Coming 2 America below!
For more on Amazon, Eddie Murphy, or any other general pop culture, stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.