Coming 2 America has its moments, but as it hints itself, like many sequels, it was unnecessary.
|Screenplay By||Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield, Kenya Barris|
|Date Released (Amazon Prime)||3/5/2021|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Romance, Young Adult|
|Duration||1 Hour, 50 Minutes|
|General Izzi||Wesley Snipes|
|King Jaffe||James Earl Jones|
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It has been 30 years, and despite the time that has passed, Zamunda has remained a patriarchal society where women can not own businesses and, unless royalty, are subject to the whims of men. The same goes for the neighboring country, controlled by General Izzi. Someone who, with the death of King Jaffe Joffer, threatens Akeem with war.
Thus, upon learning of a bastard son, Lavelle, Akeem rushes back to Queens, New York, hoping that by marrying off his son, he can preserve peace. But, in doing so, Akeem risks the anger of not only his bride, Lisa, but eldest daughter Meeka, who has trained her whole life to one day ascend the throne.
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing, Politically Incorrect Humor, and Minor Drug Use
- Jump Scares/ Laughs/ Tear-Jerking Moments: To be honest, we only laughed a handful of times, and no moment really stuck out much.
It Recaps, Throughout The Movie, What Happened In The First One
Throughout Coming 2 America, there are clips from the first movie, some expanded with evident de-aging technology, to help you remember what the first movie was about. So if you have forgotten or strangely never watched the original film, you aren’t left in the dark. This isn’t to say you get the whole story but more than enough to understand Lisa and Akeem’s story and how this film is a bit of a mirror of that, just with a stronger focus on Zamunda.
While Not Consistently Funny, It Has Its Moments
Coming 2 America is very hit or miss. Similar to Arsenio Hall’s 2019 Netflix special Smart & Classy, there is the vibe that this wasn’t written to be fresh, edgy, or with any desire to be a classic in mind. Rather, it wanted to hone in on its audience and hope that their sense of humor became as tame or matured as the actors. Hence most jokes being mild, with the few offensive ones coming from the barbershop scene. If not, relying on Leslie Jones walking the tightrope between being in on the joke, if not the joke itself, as she snatches back from Black men in drag playing a stereotypical Black woman for laughs.
The Lavelle Storyline vs. What Could Have Been With Meeka
While born after the original Coming to America came out, there is no denying its impact. The original film, while some of the jokes haven’t aged well, it did present a rich African nation with its own culture, fashion, and way of doing things that delivered laughs and some sense of pride. That is lost in Coming 2 America since it feels like a rehash of the original with minor modifications. Mainly Lavelle finding his bride in Zamunda vs. Queens.
Now, this is a shame because there is a built-in storyline here you see the film could have focused on – mainly, how sexist Zamunda is and it being at the precipice of war with General Izzi’s nation. Which, don’t get us wrong, we get the idea doesn’t easily lend itself to comedy. But as you watch Meeka, a half-American girl born and raised in Zamunda, want the same freedom and rights for women in her mother’s home country, while dealing with a cowardly father who hides behind tradition, that could have been interesting. Never mind, considering how wonderfully eccentric Wesley Snipes is as General Izzi, they could have easily discarded Lavelle and positioned Meeka to be Izzi’s bride and show that the greats can adapt rather than rehash what was once funny.
And I know we should judge Coming 2 America for what it is, not what it could have been, but this film was disappointing. Why? Because it seems written in fear of trying something new than recognizing the impact it could have had by, once again, addressing people’s perceptions of Africa in a way rarely touched upon.
Rating: Mixed (Divisive)
As we’ve seen in the last decade or two, Eddie Murphy is inconsistent. He still has star power and a name that makes you curious, but he essentially lives between the idea that he is back to being the hitmaker from the 80s and 90s or the actor who cared far more about the salary than keeping his reputation in good standing. With Coming 2 America, while there are a handful of good and interesting ideas presented, in the film, sadly, the film chooses the laziest storyline it could. Thus, this “sequel” often comes off like a remake edited to make sure Eddie Murphy and characters from the first film remain the stars.
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