Eddie Murphy was at the top of his career when he premiered what would become one of his most enduring successes: A romantic comedy presented as a loving satire of black culture from the late 80 and as a Valentine’s Day for the African diaspora. His caricaturesque but ambitious Zamunda nation gave the public a real Africa that Hollywood had never shown, far from the oppressed stereotypes, and a pioneer in the representation of an African society. A 80 film classic that inspired not only a whole generation, but also inspired Black Panther’s success.
33 years later, Coming 2 America returns to Zamunda, where Prince Akeem (Murphy) and his Queen, Lisa (Shari Headley), are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. They have three clever and skilled daughters, but a dynastic problem: Zamunda’s law dictates that the heir to the throne must be a son. Akeem’s youthful disobedience has turned into a kind of middle-aged traditionalism, and with his father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), ailing, he has fallen into a crisis of masculinity.
To make matters worse, General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), the militant leader of neighboring Nextdoria, threatens war unless Akeem agrees to offer his eldest daughter Meeka (KiKi Layne) for an arranged marriage. (The general is also, perhaps understandably, angry that Akeem left his sister at the altar three decades ago.)
Fortunately for the future King Akeem, there is a retroactive solution to the plot: through clever aging CGI and a haze of psychedelic drugs, it appears that young Akeem had a one-night stand with Mary (Leslie Jones) in Queens in 1988. , father of an illegitimate son who never knew existed.
Seizing the opportunity to negotiate a new family marriage and extend his bloodline, Akeem once again recruits his faithful servant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) and they return to New York to find his son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler ).
In many ways, Coming 2 America, directed by Craig Brewer (Dolemite), from a screenplay by Kenya Barris (Black-ish, Girls Trip) and written by Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield, struggles with the dilemmas facing a sequel to three decades. The tenure of younger characters spanning generations is faced with the need to please returning audiences, leaving everyone a little underserved in the mix; Even acknowledging the creative bankruptcy of mainstream American cinema, which this film gleefully does at one point, comes across as a cynical line that is virtually indistinguishable from the phenomenon.
The journey back to Queens, a world so integral to the original’s fish-out-of-water charms, is fleeting and largely superficial, giving the film plenty of time to catch up with the locals in some way. eternals of My-T Sharp barbershop (Murphy and Hall, again in funny prosthetics) and throwing some must-do jokes about gentrification and political correctness; And with Akeem’s son Lavelle, his mother Mary his, and worthless Uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan) in tow, the film spends most of its running time in Zamunda, where it experiences hilarious culture clashes.
Despite not having the narrative arch of the original, Coming 2 America returns cherished characters from the inevitable (the return of everyone’s favorite oily preacher and the R&B showman) to the emotional (the great John Amos , Viewed for the last time adorning Uncut Gems randomly, he speaks a paternal discourse that evokes his multigenerational legacy as an actor.) And, also, among the new characters, it delights us with the contagious energy of Snipes, who already shone in Dolomite and is reborn with a hilarious performance.
Coming 2 America is a work of great love on the part of all involved, an offering to an audience that we have kept in our hearts for so long, and that, moreover, it combines moments of humor with a denunciation of racial conflicts and the role of women in society by transmitting a powerful message. Obviously, it is not the orginal that captivated us in 1988, but seeing Prince Akeem in Zamunda again is absolutely wonderful.