After over three decades, the world of Zamunda is once again about to be shaken in this long awaited sequel to the 1988 hit film.
Prince Akeem Joffer of Zamunda is happily enjoying his life since marrying his American wife Lisa. The couple have three daughters, Meeka, Tinashe, and Omma. However, there comes a bit of sadness. King Joffe Joffer is dying and it will not be Akeem set to become the King. Akeem learns a shocking secret that he has become the father of a son. The law would allow only a male heir to take the throne despite Meeka doing her best to prove herself. The son is in Queens, New York, the result of Semmi meeting two women and giving Akeem a hookup before meeting Lisa.
Akeem heads back to Queens with Semmi. There, they meet Lavelle Junson, a con artist who aspires to one day do the right thing. Lavelle is revealed to be Akeem’s long lost son and informs him that he is the new Crown Prince of Zamunda. Akeem brings Lavelle, his mother Mary, and uncle Reem to Zamunda. Lavelle finds the transition extremely difficult. It gets worse when General Izzi, the ex-to-have been brother-in-law of Akeem, plots to wage war on Zamunda unless Lavelle agrees to marry Izzi’s daughter. And yet Lavelle finds himself in love with royal groomer Mirembe. How will Akeem get out of this jam?
For years, there has been rumors of a sequel to the 1988 hit film about an African prince who would go to New York to find a bride. The film was a major hit that had some classic lines and performances from the duo of Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. The question is, would lightning strike twice? Well, this sequel, directed by Murphy’s Dolemite is My Name director Craig Brewer and co-written by black-ish creator Kenya Barris, solely seems to be for nostalgic fans.
The reason that the word “nostaligic” is brought up is because a lot of the jokes used have been recycled and updated. Murphy and Hall once again play multiple characters such as the barbershop boys and Murphy’s Saul, the Jewish customer, the priest, and Hall introducing a new character in a Zamundan high priest who plans to perform a character. A positive note, we do see the return of Shari Headley as Queen Lisa, John Amos as Akeem’s father-in-law Cleo, and even Louie Armstrong as Maurice alongside other classic characters reprised by their original actors.
And yet, the new characters brings a sense of reminiscence to the original as well. Jermaine Fowler’s Lavelle falls in love with his royal groomer and instead of the (hopeful) arranged marriage, is determined to marry the groomer. Like father, like son. In addition, Meeka, played by Kiki Layne, looks for change as she is determined to over the throne of Zamunda despite the fact that the law states only a male heir can take over the throne. Her idea of change clearly follows in the footsteps of her grandmother, Queen Aoleon, played by the late Madge Sinclair.
If there is anything new in the film, it’s the character of General Izzi, played by Wesley Snipes. Snipes shows why he is capable of doing comedy as he did in some of his earlier work like in Wildcats and White Men Can’t Jump. Here, he really amps the hysterics as a dancing leader who like his father before him, arranges a marriage between Lavelle and his daughter, Bopoto, played by Teyana Taylor. But unlike his father, Izzi threatens war if the marriage doesn’t happen, leading to complications that lead to the third act.
Coming 2 America is not as great as the original, but it does hold pretty well, especially for those who love the jokes of the original will see them updated a bit with some twists involved in terms of the new character Lavelle. This is will appease more fans of nostalgia than those looking for something very new.
WFG RATING: B
Paramount Pictures and Amazon Studios present an Eddie Murphy Productions film in association with Misher Films and New Republic Pictures. Director: Craig Brewer. Producers: Eddie Murphy and Kevin Misher. Writers: Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield; story by Blaustein, Sheffield, and Justin Kanew; based on characters created by Eddie Murphy. Cinematography: Jermaine Stegall. Editing: David S. Clark, Billy Fox, and Debra Neil-Fisher.
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Shari Headley, Kiki Layne, Wesley Snipes, Akiley Love, Bella Murphy, James Earl Jones, Paul Bates, Teyana Taylor, John Amos, Nomzamo Mbatha, Morgan Freeman, Louie Anderson, Trevor Noah.