By Juan Calvillo
“Coming 2 America” is one of Eddie Murphy’s most fun movies in some time and is filled with plenty of laughs and heart-warming moments like the original.
One of Murphy’s finest films was the 1988 romantic, fish out of water movie “Coming to America.”
The sequel makes frequent call backs to the original and focuses on the acceptance of not only family, but the failures and changes that come with life.
The movie’s story follows Prince Akeem in his attempts to try and bring stability to the Kingdom of Zamunda and create a place for his family in his kingdom.
This is stalled first, by the intrusion of a general from a nearby country and second, by the revelation that Akeem has an illegitimate son, which is hilariously referred to in a scene, as a bastard son living in America.
The movie’s focus is on Akeem’s family in Zamunda, and his newly discovered son. It very much follows a similar plot as the original by asking the new members of Akeem’s family to follow their heart and become their own individual people.
It’s interesting that in this film it takes a moment of crisis to remind Akeem that he followed his heart years before to great success. This makes him realize that the fruit does not fall from the tree.
Murphy plays Akeem, among many other characters in the film. Akeem has settled into his life with his wife and daughters. Shari Headley returns as Murphy’s love interest and now princess, Lisa. Together they have three daughters, Meeka, played by stand out KiKi Layne, Omma, played by Bella Murphy, and Tinashe, played by Akiley Love.
Murphy, once again, plays Akeem perfectly. He infuses the character with charisma and a playful attitude throughout the movie.
Aging has hardly slowed Murphy’s comedic timing and he hits the right notes exactly when needed. He also plays the father role quite well. His daughter Bella is even one of his on-screen daughters.
Headley continues to be the voice of reason as Lisa. Her ability to be regal one moment and then real the next is interesting and the perfect companion to the more royal perspective Akeem displays.
All three of the actresses playing Akeem’s daughters are fantastic. But it’s Layne that stands out the most.
Layne plays Meeka with a strength and sincerity that is truly awesome to watch. The movie shows her as the most obvious heir apparent due to her confidence,smarts and ability to do the right thing in difficult situations.
Layne manages to make the character a force to be reckoned with despite some of the situations she is placed in by her father Akeem.
Rounding out the cast is Arsenio Hall as Murphy’s trusted friend Semmi, Jermaine Fowler, as Akeem’s bastard son Lavelle Junson, Leslie Jones, as Mary Junson, Wesley Snipes, as General Izzi, and James Earl Jones, as King Jaffe Joffer. Out of the newer cast only Snipes is able to create a memorable character.
This is due in part that Snipes manages to play Izzi as over the top as possible.
At first it seems too much, but it’s the extremes that Snipes plays with that make the character memorable. While Jones isn’t as on screen as much as the first film, he still manages to be the funniest actor in every scene that he is in.
Both the score and the movie’s costume and art department are to be commended. Every scene in Zamunda is filled with beautifully colorful costumes and set pieces.
There are so many costume changes that it would make a live performance on an awards show jealous.
The score is also amazingly fun and will definitely be a throwback to some classic R&B and Rap music.
There are some fun surprise guests in the form of musical guests that the film has under it’s sleeve that makes certain parts not only musically pitch perfect but funny as well.
If this film suffers at all, it is from the fact that it’s run time doesn’t allow audiences, nor the movie itself, to truly explore many of the newer or standout characters.
During the film’s run time it does a great job handling Akeem’s progression and change into a more understanding character, but it drops the ball choosing to focus on the character’s son instead of the daughter.
While Fowler’s character is interesting and follows a similar path as Murphy’s character did in the original, the movie missed an opportunity to follow Layne’s character’s struggles.
Amazon Studios has a fun movie in “Coming 2 America.” Murphy and the rest of the cast did their best combining laughs and heartfelt moments of connection during the film’s 110 minute runtime.
“Coming 2 America” is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and drug content. It is in theaters and available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.