Eddie Murphy was a guilty pleasure during his heyday in the ‘80s. To be able to imitate his motor-mouth dialogue delivery was the ultimate party trick. Anyone who could repeat his dialogues from his stand-up special, Delirious, was considered worthy of a ton of respect. His movies from that period, 48 Hours (1982), Trading Places (1983) and Beverley Hills Cop (1984) were R-rated laugh riots. Murphy then moved on to and found success in family movies, including his delicious Donkey in the Shrek series (“I am a stallion baby”).
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John Landis’ Coming To America (1988) about Prince Akeem from the African nation of Zamunda, who instead of agreeing to an arranged match, goes to Queens to find true love was one more of Murphy’s gigantic hits of the ‘80s. While it has not aged very well, it is nice to see Samuel L Jackson in a walk on part and Cuba Gooding Jr. as the boy getting a haircut.
Directed by Craig Brewer, who also directed Murphy in the critically acclaimed Dolemite Is My Name, Coming 2 America sees most of the cast from the original reprise their roles. Murphy plays Akeem and his other roles, including Randy, Clarence, the barber, and Saul, the customer. Arsenio Hall plays Akeem’s best friend Semmi as well as Reverend Brown, Baba the witch doctor and Morris the barber. Shari Headley plays Lisa who Akeem fell in love with in the first film. John Amos is Lisa’s dad, Cleo McDowell, while Vanessa Bell Calloway is Imani, who Akeem left at the altar barking like a dog. There is also James Earl Jones as Akeem’s dad, King Jaffe Joffer.
Coming 2 America
- Director: Craig Brewer
- Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Teyana Taylor, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones
- Story line: Prince Akeem returns to Queens to find his son and other truths
- Run time: 110 minutes
Newcomers include Wesley Snipes as General Izzi, Imani’s brother, and Jermaine Fowler as Lavelle, Akeem’s illegitimate son who Akeem brings back to Zamunda with his mum, Mary (Leslie Jones), and his uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan). Akeem and Lisa have three daughters and Akeem goes back to Queens to find Lavelle as only a male child can inherit the throne. There are all sorts of fun and games, royal baths and tiny elephants, which all comes right in the end.
The world would not have been crushed if this sequel was not made but it is not so hideous either. Murphy is threatening a third instalment when he is 75, 16 years from now. And there is going to be a Beverley Hills Cop IV…
Coming 2 America is presently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.