Coming to America is all about girl power and yes! it’s everything we kind of hoped for. The John Landis and Eddie Murphy’s 1988 blockbuster original comedy was about an African prince (Eddie Murphy) who traveled from the fictional African kingdom of Zamunda to New York to find a bride.
33 years later, Murphy’s Prince Akeem is still happily married to Lisa (Shari Headley) with three talented daughters: played by Kiki Layne (eldest), Bella Murphy (who is Eddie Murphy’s biological daughter) and Akiley Love. Though Meeka (Kiki Layne) is in every criteria fit to be Queen, tradition demands a male heir. Zamunda is now faced with a threat from the leader of a neighboring land, General Izzi (played Wesley Snipes, making the most of his comedic turn), Akeem is delighted to discover he unexpectedly has one, who he somewhat improbably fathered during his time in New York.
Lavelle (played by Jermaine Fowler) a college dropout and part-time ticket scalper and his mom (Leslie Jones) with the help of his uncle (Tracy Morgan) jets off to Zamunda where Lavelle is supposed to marry Izzi’s daughter and secure the peace. Things dont go exactly as plan, as Lavelle follows in his fathers footsteps and searches for true love. Akeem’s three daughters also challenge the sexist culture for the right to rule.
Co-written by Kenya Barris (Girls Trip) and directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Dolemite Is My Name), Coming 2 America brings back nostalgic memories. Everyone looked spectacular in their costumes thanks to Ruth E. Carter who won Oscar in 2019 for creating fashion in Wakanda. From the Ankara prints to the beautiful afro hairstyles – you can say Coming 2 America got one thing right.
If your a fan of of the original film, you may be disappointed with this sequel. While its understandable why the film didn’t focus more of America – I just wished the sequel made more effort to make it more African, aside clothing and hair.
For one, 90 per cent of the movie the music scenery was more of American black culture (but the movie is supposed to be about Zamunda – an “African” country). Aside Davido’s appearance at Lavelle’s wedding to Mirembe nothing more. Like what does Salt n Pepper and En Vogues remix of Whatta Man have to do with a African traditional king who doesn’t believe in a female heir. He is a King of an African country – he’s suppose to like cultural music or something more African. The movie did get it right with Zanku moves at the ending but that’s it. There’s just a lot of cultural collision that makes it difficult to understand if we are in Zamunda or somewhere else
We can’t let the handkerchief scene slide, the one during King Jaffe Joffer’s funeral – its comedy but that’s not how it is. Africans don’t sit around with hankies waiting for the beat to drop.
Additionally, the movie spends a lot of time on a love story that lacks the force of Akeem and Lisa. Lavelle and Mirembe’s love story seems a bit rushed – both good actors but they failed to sell their relationship. Again, for a film that’s meant to be about girl power all we see is a bunch of males hovering around.
With all its short comings, Coming 2 America still has its in-jokes and returning characters to keep fans happy.
Where to Watch Coming 2 America
The film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime