FILM AND TELEVISION

‘Coming 2 America’ Isn’t Great, But it’s Definitely Awesome

The classic original is well represented here

Deante L. Young
4 min readMar 6, 2021

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Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in Coming 2 America.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user jaiye orie

There’s a moment early in Coming 2 America in which Arsenio Hall’s character, Semmi explains how Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem unwittingly impregnated a “morally bereft woman” over 30 years ago.

Using footage from the original 1988 film to illustrate that fateful night, Semmi’s revelation uncovers the uncomfortable facts that led to the existence of Akeem’s 30-year old “bastard son,” LaVelle (Jermaine Fowler).

The backstory (obviously invented for this film) is both hilarious and clever. It was that moment that formed my ultimate opinion of this flick.

It isn’t great, but it’s definitely awesome.

Critics Suck, This Film Doesn’t

I’ve read several reviews of this very belated sequel, and they are overwhelmingly negative. Much has been made about the lack of a paternity test to prove that Akeem actually fathered the boy.

Who gives a damn? This movie is a comedy with a bunch of implausible shit going on, so I’m not about to nitpick just because it’s easy.

Murphy, a master of charisma and wit is understated in his role as Akeem. He becomes King of Zamunda after his father dies, which leads to a brief period of sadness followed by an avalanche of eye-winking references to Coming to America.

Again, many critics found those excessive callbacks to be annoying. I felt that they were done self consciously and in context, they served a great purpose.

Spectacular Production and Performances

This film was beautifully shot and the wardrobe department deserves an A+ for their work. It’s no coincidence that Ruth E. Carter, who won an Academy Award for her costuming in Black Panther, handled the same duties here.

Yes, the plot feels limp at times. I’m sure there were better ways to update us on Akeem and his wife Lisa’s (Shari Headley) fairy tale life more than three decades after they rode off into the sunset.

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Deante L. Young

Personal Development Writer | Deante Unlimited podcast, Host | Deante: Under Construction web series, Star | Deante Young Enterprises, Chief Creative Architect