I finally had the chance to watch Coming 2 America, and I wanted to share my thoughts. Before we get started, check out the following trailer if you haven’t seen it already.
The newly-crowned King of Zamunda, King Akeem (Murphy), is celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary with Lisa McDowell (Headley) when he finds out that he has an illegitimate son, Lavelle Junson (Fowler), in Queens, New York. King Akeem, who is the father of three daughters, is aware that Zamundian tradition requires a male successor to take the throne. So after being threatened by rival neighbor General Izzi (Snipes), King Akeem and his aide, Semmi (Hall), embark on a journey back to the states to find his son.
The hype surrounding this long-awaited sequel got the best of me and prompted me to have a movie night yesterday. Coming 2 America was somewhat what I expected: enjoyable yet questionably unneeded.
Let’s start with the good:
- The Nostalgia
- Seeing most of the original cast, who all looked great, was the true anchor point to the film. The comedic timing from the original’s favorite characters, mostly performed by Murphy and Hall, provided several laughs and feel-good moments.
- Aside from one noticeable green screen moment that made me chuckle, Coming 2 America looked and sounded great. The fashion, hair, music, dance, and Afro-flavor of the film were characters of their own.
- Jermaine Fowler
- I was not aware of Fowler or his work prior to seeing this film, but he did a great job playing King Akeem’s son. Being surrounded by some of the industry’s top comedians would intimidate anyone, but I didn’t get that vibe at all from Fowler, and his performance actually outshined some of them.
- Teyana Taylor
- I’ve always thought Teyana Taylor was an attractive, talented actress/singer. But man listened, she was bad in this film. Her swag and beauty kept my attention the whole time, and the conundrum is she only had a few scenes.
Now, the bad:
- Urban Black American Tropes
- I understand that this film is a comedy that needed certain personalities to carry it through. But the uncouth, uncultured, ghetto African American archetype is tired and lazy, especially when you’re comparing and contrasting continental Africans and Africans in America. There are differences amongst us, but civilizing one and demoting another is a clear insult; Fowler indirectly pointed it out during his performance.
- It’s understandable why many are choosing to opt out from entertainment these days because the social/political messages in film, television, and even video games are exhausting at this point. Just like the live-action adaption of Aladdin, the feminism (masked as women’s empowerment) in this film added nothing to the female supporting characters because their performances were still forgettable. And it didn’t help that, at certain points, the men looked like bumbling idiots and the women, distinguished decision-makers.
- The Love Story
- 1988’s Coming to America was centered around Prince Akeem’s quest for a suitable bride, Coming 2 America was centered around King Akeem’s quest for a suitable heir. Therefore, the love story that was thrown in, which was rushed and came across as a half-baked reflection to the first film, wasn’t needed. In my subjective opinion, more focus should have been put on the issues between General Izzi and King Akeem.
The nostalgia in Coming 2 America was the saving grace, but I’m not sure if this film was needed.
Grade of C
Until Next Time…
Photo Credit: The Independent