By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
There are some laughs to be had in “Coming 2 America,”
the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 classic hit movie “Coming to America,” but not nearly as many as I had hoped for.
Although Eddie Murphy
is a co-writer for “Coming 2 America,” even his sharp wit alongside stalwart Arsenio Hall
at times turns dull.
who directed Murphy and Wesley Snipes in 2019’s hilarious movie, “Dolemite Is My Name,” takes the reins here and seems to have his hands full with this sprawling and disjointed endeavor.
In “Coming 2 America” Murphy is back as Prince Akeem Joffer, the prince of the African nation Zamunda. He has three lovely daughters, Princess Meeka (Kiki Layne, TV’s “The Old Guard”), Tinashe (Akiley Love) and Omma (Bella Murphy, Eddie’s real daughter).
Akeem is still holding things down with his gorgeous wife Lisa (Shari Headley, “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween”), but the family is worried because Akeem’s father Jaffe (James Earl Jones, “The Lion King”) is sick. Akeem is also concerned since he doesn’t have a son to claim heir to the throne.
Or does he?
It turns out Prince Akeem does have a long-lost son named Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler, “Judas & The Black Messiah”) who is living in Queens, New York.
Akeem and Semmi (Hall) jet off to America to find Lavelle and his mother Mary Junson (Leslie Jones, upcoming “I Am Maurice”) who Akeem had a fling with back in the day.
Along the way, they stop at a few of their old haunts and check on some friends like Mr. Clarence, the local barber and his regular customers Saul and Morris who are played by Murphy and Hall. The barbershop scene is one of the funniest in the movie.
Akeem and Semmi find Lavelle, Mary and her brother Reem (a funny Tracy Morgan, TV’s “The Last O.G.”). Mary and Lavelle don’t need much convincing to pack their things and live in Zamunda. Of course, much of this fish out of water story is about how they try to adapt to the ways of Zamunda.
There’s really a lot to unpack in “Coming 2 America” and it gets almost dizzying midway through especially during a pre-funeral party that Jaffe (Jones) requests and which features Morgan Freeman as an MC of sorts introducing Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue. Gladys Knight even shows up singing “Midnight Train from Zamunda.” It’s crazy.
Other cameos include: “Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost, in a funny bit that will take audiences down memory lane. Snipes does steal every scene he's in as General Izzi, the leader of the country Nextdoria.
Cleo McDowell (the terrific John Amos, TV’s “The Last O.G.”) is back too and still spouting off about McDonalds and McDowells. There’s also Baba, the Witch Doctor, Sexual Chocolate, Soul Glo, Reverend Brown and I’m sure I’m leaving a few others out.
Yet, even with all that talent and those characters on board, “Coming 2 America” often plays like a warmed over rerun that relies too much on its predecessor for laughs. Thirty-three years is a long time to wait for a sequel. It’s 2 bad “Coming 2 America” couldn’t create more fresh, comedic magic of its own.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "COMING 2 AMERICA"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The American Film Institute (AFI) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.