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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs at 7:20 a.m., during the Noon News and in The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington and Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review--"Coming 2 America"


A popular Eighties comedy has finally produced a sequel—32 years later.

In this week’s Friday Film Review, Mark Harrington sizes up the new film—and says, it wasn’t worth the wait.      

This week’s film is "Coming 2 America", Eddie Murphy’s sequel to his 1988 romantic comedy about an African prince who flees his father’s palace to avoid an arranged marriage.  Prince Akeem, played by Murphy, landed in NYC and found his true love in Queens.  The original film staggered out of the gate with production mayhem, and a lawsuit by Art Buchwald who successfully sued the producers for stealing his story, but the film’s blend of slapstick, lampoon and cheesy romance all powered by an Eddie Murphy at the height of his comedic career struck a chord with audiences.  "Coming to America" went on to gross over $200M and has since attracted a cult-like following.   Despite the passing of over three decades, most of the original characters are back including the 88 year old James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall, John Amos, and Shari Headley.    The plot picks back up on Prince Akeem’s thirtieth wedding anniversary to Lisa, his true love from Queens.  Prince Akeem is about to become king but his father fears that his son will be assassinated upon coronation and Akeem only has three daughters.  Their fictional kingdom Zamunda only recognizes sons as potential heirs to the throne.  But hold on, the king informs Akeem that he in fact left an illegitimate son in Queens.  So, Akeem fuels up the royal jet and returns to Queens to find his son and return him to Zamunda where he would guarantee succession and block a neighboring general played by Wesley Snipes who has his eyes on an Akeem’s oldest daughter.  Unfortunately, most of the action takes place in fictional Zamunda depriving the script of NYC culture clash that anchored much of the original film’s humor and appeal.   Flashy costumes and musical acts dominate the first half of the film, depriving the audience from getting to know Akeem’s daughters or any of the supporting cast beyond their blatant caricatures.  Jermaine Fowler stumbles through a by the numbers slapstick routine as Akeem’s missing son Lavelle. 

In the end, the theatrics of dumbed down satire interrupt any opportunity for audience connection with the main characters.   Simply, there’s no one in this story you really feel like rooting for or laughing with except Leslie Jones as Lavelle’s ghetto mother. 

So, on my ski trail rating system, "Coming 2 America" earns my lowest Green ski trail rating, unless of course a combination of low brow, Sasha Cohen-like Borat parody crossed with a Solid Gold dance show is your idea of a good time at the movies, in which case you’ll bump up to an intermediate BLUE.   Beautiful costumes, great musical cameos and strong performances during the second half of the film by Murphy and Kiki Layne as Akeem’s oldest daughter can’t propel this retread to anything beyond a slow trip down memory lane.  

"Coming 2 America" is rated PG13 for crude humor, sexual references, language, and politically incorrect parody including but not limited to men, women, children, Africa, barbers, bathers, and militant dictators.   "Coming 2 America" is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

This is Mark Harrington for KPCW’s Friday Film Review

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