As of March 5, Amazon Prime released the highly-anticipated sequel to a cult classic; Coming 2 America. With over thirty years that have passed, The Prince of Zamunda (Eddie Murphy) and his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) must return to New York to find an heir to the throne. Much of the original cast have reprised their roles which adds to the nostalgia of the first film, but there is also the added bonus of some new faces. This updated cast features talented names such as Leslie Jones and Jermaine Fowler, two comedians that use their talent for good as they immediately stand out and grab the attention of viewers.
To start off, this film seems rushed, not as organized and in sync as the first film. “Coming 2 America” offers some charming character arcs, but the final formula is nowhere near perfect. With a heavy reliance on the first film’s plot, the jokes become recycled and at times it feels like you’re watching a remake instead of a sequel.
This film is a guaranteed money grab; it wasn’t worth it to make this film, but nevertheless, here we are. Instead of building its own story, the film writers and producers try to jam in a full roster of celebrities to distract you from the lackluster plot. I’ll admit at first it was a fun surprise, but eventually, it started to feel goofy and distracting, making the movie hard to take seriously. When you’re introducing a new character towards the end of your movie, maybe that isn’t such a great idea.
Despite this, the return of the barbershop characters, Randy Watson and Reverend Brown, some of the funniest people from the first film, was truly amusing to see. With their jokes not becoming stale whatsoever, this was a more endearing nod to the original fans.
Something positive I can say about the movie is the performance of breakout star Kiki Layne. She plays Meeka, the eldest daughter of Prince Akeem. Her character is respectable and well-mannered, yet she has the most trouble adjusting to the new life that having a brother entails. Not only was Meeka personable, but she was brave. Her character is much more important than first meets the eye and her presence highlights the true strength of women in this film, which is inspiring to say the least.
Not only was her acting convincing, but the movie’s visuals were convincing as well. Much of the film utilizes CGI and showcases aesthetically pleasing shots of nature and its animals, along with the beautiful performances and costumes. Many of these film shots will have you wanting to go to the fictional land of Zamunda, it was very effective in tying everything together for more realism.
This is the film you probably didn’t need, but got anyway. Regardless of the lack of demand, it has something going for itself. The buildup towards the movie’s conflict was interesting, even the twist towards the end is fun to watch. The movie is not totally horrific; when the film deviates from the original and viewers get to see something different that is when it shines the most. This film was definitely made for die-hard fans, but new viewers can have something to look forward to when watching.
Photo credit: Amazon Studios/ IMDb