Movie review: ‘Coming 2 America’

Posted 3/12/21

Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem in “Coming 2 America,” a fun and funny sequel.

In the original, Prince Akeem of Zamunda, a wealthy and prosperous African monarchy, came to America …

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Movie review: ‘Coming 2 America’

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Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem in “Coming 2 America,” a fun and funny sequel.

In the original, Prince Akeem of Zamunda, a wealthy and prosperous African monarchy, came to America with his best friend and bodyguard, Semmi (Arsenio Hall). In Queens, he finds his true love, Lisa (Shari Headley).

Flash forward 30 years, Akeem is living a great life with his wife and three daughters. General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) of the neighboring nation Nextdoria, offers a marriage between Akeem’s eldest daughter, Meeka (KiKi Layne) and his son. Akeem vehemently opposes. “It is better to be united by marriage then to be divided by blood,” Izzi tells him.

On his deathbed, Akeem’s father, the King (James Earl Jones) informs Akeem he has a son in Queens from his last visit. His royal send off includes Morgan Freeman, En Vogue, Salt and Pepa, and Gladys Knight.

Akeem and Semmi go back to Queens to search for his son, Lavelle “Al” Junson (Jermaine Fowler), whom Akeem fathered during a drugged one-night stand with Mary (Leslie Jones).  “Zamunda, Wakunda, Connecticut, I don’t know where you’re from, but I’ve been his family his whole life,” Al’s Uncle Reem (Tracey Morgan) says.

Akeem takes Al and his mother back to Zamunda. With the help of Akeem and Reem, Lavelle studies the history of his new country, much to the disappointment of Meeka, who aspires to be Queen, despite the country’s rules.

Lavelle excels in his studies and is positioned to become the heir to the throne. When Izzi offers his daughter, Imani (Vanessa Bell Calloway) in marriage, Lavelle, like his father decades before, refuses to marry for political expediency rather than for true love.

Three decades later, Akeem realizes that he has not taken his country into the 21st Century and needs to make changes for his people and his family. When he seeks the counsel of his father-in-law, Cleo (the great John Amos), who runs the thinly veiled rip-off of McDonald’s called McDowells, Cleo asks Akeem, “What would your mother think? She was the wisest person I’ve ever known.”

The returning cast includes Paul Bates and Louie Anderson, and there are fun cameos from Colin Jost and Trevor Noah. The multiple disguises and roles that Murphy and Hall played in the first film are also reprised, including the characters in the Queens barber shop, Clarence, Saul, Randy, Morris, Rev. Brown and Baba.

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