Coming 2 America (2021) Review
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
OVER 30 years since the release of Eddie Murphy's classic Coming to America, Zamunda's favourite prince and his esteemed companion return for a sequel which harkens back to the original, but fails to meaningfully capitalise on a world that has drastically changed since 1988.
King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his girlfriend-now-wife Lisa (Shari Headley) rule over Zamunda following the events of the first film. However, when Akeem's father Jaffee Joffer (James Earl Jones) informs him that he conceived a son while in Queens, Akeem and Semmi (Arsenio Hall) must return to America to retrieve the rightful heir to the Zamundan throne.
A lot of the charm that came from the original Coming to America was its fish-out-of-water scenario where Eddie Murphy played up his charismatic and amiable persona of a prince thrown into the mean streets of New York, and while the sequel does attempt to rekindle some of that hilarious magic by performing multiple role reversals, nostalgia alone wasn't able to keep the film above water.
Coming 2 America introduces a new character: Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), Akeem's bastard son who wants to pave his own destiny. His inclusion into the story was a nice change of pace at first, harking back to Eddie Murphy's role in the film prior, but quickly became overbearing and uninteresting, particularly during the second act which took a steep fall off a cliff that the movie never fully-recovered from.
The film isn't all doom and gloom however as Eddie Murphy's signature humour was still apparent throughout, including his incredible performances as fan favourite characters Akeem, Clarence, Saul and Randy Watson.
While Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, much like the previous flick, were the standouts in this one, other fan favourites such as Cleo McDowell and Jaffe Joffer are put on the back burner for newer, far less interesting characters in a film that should have been a simple love letter to a cult classic.
Coming 2 America is a film that fails to improve on the original without harming the franchise's legacy, ultimately amounting to nothing once the credits roll. Despite the humour being decent, there is too little substance for the amount of style the original presented audiences with.