Coming 2 America (Movie Review)

Coming 2 America (Movie Review)

If you were alive 30 years ago, then you likely carry some memory of at least a few classic films that ended up gaining a cult-like following throughout the years. 1988’s Coming to America was one of these: a unique Comedy because it provided a glimpse into cultural differences among people of the same color. It was star-studded by the likes of Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and James Earl Jones, full of dry humor, and even went on to introduce future household names such as Samuel L. Jackson and Louis Anderson.

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Comedies undoubtedly have a way of living on in our lives with their influence of humor and memorable catchphrases, but nothing stirs up excitement quite like a long-awaited sequel. And so fans of the original are likely to rejoice at the arrival of Coming 2 America to Amazon Prime on Friday, March 5, 2021.

Written by Kenya Barris (Black-ish series, Grown-ish series) and directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow 2005, Black Snake Moan 2006), Coming 2 America springs open with a sense of pride and a plethora of original characters from its opening scene. From his status as a born prince to newly-crowned king, Akeem (Murphy: Coming To America 1988, The Nutty Professor 1996), has gone on living his best life in the beautiful country of Zamunda, along with his best confidant Semmi (Hall: Coming To America 1988, Black Dynamite 2009) and family by his side. The two men quickly learn that everything left behind in the U.S. was not exactly meant to stay there, as Akeem has fathered an unknown son who is now a 30-year-old resident of Queens, New York. So now the hilarious duo must return to America to embark on a brand-new journey in the 21st century.

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The sequel wastes no time getting into social and political dialogue, as it touches on racial tension with truthful yet humorous interaction between characters. With a quicker pace than its predecessor, Coming 2 America features a whirlwind of celebrity cameos along with a greater presence of musical influence that targets more of its Generation Z audience. The script comes off with a much larger sense of stereotyping, as well, with a heavy urbanized deliverance of one-liners and a watered-down rehashing of the original script.

Add to this the fact that the audience may get the sense that there several stiff and forced performances from main characters such as Queen Lisa Joffer (Shari Headly: Coming To America 1988, On Becoming a God in Central Florida series) and even Murphy himself. In fact, it seems as if the legendary comedian was deeper in his comfort zone while playing the beloved variety of rolls that tickled the funny bone in the first film. Instead, this time around the spotlight is shining upon Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones (Ghostbusters 2016, Masterminds 2016), who plays the mother of Akeem’s son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler: Superior Donuts series, BoJack Horseman series); and her impact comes very close to overshadowing the top-billed actor’s performance.

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With African influenced costume design of extreme importance there is certainly much to visually appreciate in the sequel, yet the storyline leaves some uncertainty as to why we needed to watch it after so much time has passed. There are also tons of new flavors added in Coming 2 America, as well as a wonderful burst of nostalgia for those who waited patiently for a reboot of this old-school comedy. Overall, this 2021 film is likely to be a crowd pleaser that offers some feel-good vibes in our current times, and so Cryptic Rock gives Coming 2 America 2.5 out of 5 stars. 

Amazon Studios

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Charlette Gibbs
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