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The king has returned! Eddie Murphy is back to see in on his 1988 invention Akeem, the now-ruler of the fictional African country of Zamunda. As established in Coming to America, Zamunda is both a lavish and antiquated locale: not tons of TVs, multitudes of rituals and ceremonies, beautiful interior design that might make a true estate mogul blush, all affectionately anachronistic.
So. Technically this is able to be Coming to Zamunda, no?
Akeem’s content together with his three daughters and his loving queen Lisa (Shari Headley) by his side. Yet for the sake of kick-starting a sequel, he needs a male heir to avoid war with General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), leader of Nextdoria (you come up with a far better fake name). And because it with great care happens, Akeem hooked up a lady named Mary (Leslie Jones) within the ‘80s, and unknown to Akeem, Mary raised his son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) in NY.
This is where the premise pulls a 180: Akeem’s done America already. He came, he saw, he worked at McDowell’s. Instead, the sequel has Akeem learning his long-lost son to groom him and introduce him to Zamunda altogether its quirk and fervor. Lavelle is now the fish out of water learning the closed corporation, like pulling lion whiskers and washing of royal genitals. In other words, whereas the first film may be a comedy of exploration, this is often one among reclamation.
Is This Just Another Murphy Sequel?
Murphy’s no stranger to sequels. Regrettably lesser sequels, to be frank. The Beverly Hills Cops after 1984, Doctor Dolittle 2, the rear half of the Shrek franchise, and yes, the Klumps. When asking “why now?” of Coming 2 America, the apparent answer was always getting to be Murphy’s continued marketability. Also, Coming to America is either a cult classic or outright masterpiece, counting on whom you ask.
What Coming 2 America lacks within the original’s naughty deadpan (and R-rated surrealism), it makes up for with vibes of a raucous family party. But this show takes a second. Actually, about 20 minutes of rushing to line up the who and why. There are abrupt name-driven intros of old characters, Murphy smiling and mingling, cameos, callbacks, all invoking that desperate sequel feeling. Gladys Knight singing “Midnight Train to Zamunda”? Okay, that originally felt corny, but it feels funnier in hindsight?
Once things settle, though, this is often a Meet the Parents-type comedy through and thru. Murphy bonding together with his newfound son is a component comedy of manners, part parents just don’t understand. For reference, if Happiest Season felt a touch strangulating, Coming 2 America offers actual relaxation. The humor’s secret weapons are the chummy personalities and a curious sense of heart that the first wasn’t all that curious about, and people qualities are valuable during a family comedy.
Fowler’s big-timer confidence and dollar signs in his eyes are winning. Murphy shit-talking Arsenio Hall or Snipes – not unlike their rapport in Dolemite is My Name for the latter – trades on the pleasure of watching old pals not care if they appear ridiculous around one another. Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan, as Lavelle’s mom and uncle, desire they can’t believe they were invited. Everybody involved seems like they’re on vacation. No, not within the Sandler side-comedy way, but like they’re happy being during this place and goofing around with each other. contribute Ruth Carter’s (Black Panther) technicolor costumes, needle-drops from African artists, and an upbeat pace, the all-around feel is that of a hangout.
His jokes deal in cultural references and wordplay, all attitude-driven. Izzi is proclaimed to be the inspiration for Scar in Lion King. Upon hearing about his son, Akeem proclaims “I will find the bastard of Queens!” Just goofy shit. And to the film’s credit — and this is often huge for a comedy sequel – it’s not annoying.
How Does Coming 2 America Stack Against The Landis Original?
To the comedy’s tone, it should be noted that this isn’t a John Landis film, for better and perhaps worse. No jokes aim as big and broad as Landis would have; that was his thing. He’d plan to asides, farce, and dirty jokes. Landis also had a propensity for needless nudity, dry storytelling, and getting uncomfortably on the brink of racism. Coming 2 America, under Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow), features a lighter, swifter hand. He venerates and references the first amorously, but his sense of humor may be a little dorkier.
To be clear, the writers of the first, Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield, are back, and television whiz Kenya Barris (Blackish) throws in also. But Brewer would preferably be a crowd-pleaser than force an excessive amount of risque humor (an okay thing, and there’s still dirty bits for those in need!). Landis liked long takes on pained faces for comic reactions. Brewer digs musical numbers and chases with wild cats. Whereas Landis would draw a bead on a trans panic joke (remember Hall in embroiling the first?), Brewer runs with timely dunks on white privilege using Colin Jost during a minor role as a hiring manager.