Coming 2 America: A Nostalgic Sequel
The long wait for Coming 2 America, a sequel to John Landis and Eddie Murphy’s 1988 blockbuster comedy about an African prince who travels from the fictional African kingdom of Zamundato New York to find a bride is over.
The movie is more of a remake. As it features a younger actor going through the same narrative paces as Murphy in the original, Coming to America.
Co-written by Kenya Barris and directed by Craig Brewer, this follow-up highlights Prince Akeem and sidekick Semmi (Arsenio Hall) returning, briefly, to Queens to retrieve Akeem’s secret “bastard son” Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler). Fowler is likable as a sweet-natured slacker, channeling the endearing guilelessness of Murphy’s original Prince Akeem. Though he is no match to Murphy in whit and comedy.
There isn’t so much to the movie. One could say that perhaps there was no need for a sequel after all. Coming 2 America seems so intent on stirring up feelings of déjà vu. Which is also overwhelming to some level.
Much as the movie is about the bastard son, it is worth noting that Fowler is unable to bring much vibrancy to the storyline. Also, despite their best efforts, Fowler and Nomzamo Mbatha are given little to work with while building budding their romance. Even though Mbatha in particular is quite good as Mirembe.
Most of the film’s fun, though, it has a serving of celebrity cameos — including Morgan Freeman amusingly sending up his godlike narrator image. Trevor Noah as a “ZNN” anchor — and musical performances by the vintage likes of En Vogue, Salt-N-Pepa. Gladys Knight with one of her biggest hits with a rendition of “Midnight Train From Zamunda.”
Wesley Snipes on the other hand is a delight to watch! He put up an outstanding performance as General Izzi. The flamboyant warlord who pretty much steals the show. The costume display in Coming 2 America is also magnificent and could pass for a pageant.
The movie is worth watching all the same…