‘Coming 2 America’: A mediocre sequel of a royal comedy

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“Coming 2 America” is an Amazon original sequel to the Eddie Murphy ‘80s comedy of similar name. Released on Mar. 5, 2021, the sequel follows Murphy’s character, Prince Akeem, who finds out he has an illegitimate son in Queens, N.Y., and travels to the U.S. to instill him as heir to the throne of the fictional kingdom of Zamunda. 

Prior to writing this, I had never heard of Eddie Murphy’s ‘80s comedy, “Coming to America,” but the plot of an African prince getting into all sorts of trouble when he travels to America for the first time to escape an arranged marriage and search for a connection with an intellectual was interesting. Without having seen the first one, I watched “Coming 2 America,” expecting an entertaining comedy. 

The first time I watched it, most of the jokes landed flat, some characters were awfully cringy and uninteresting and there were an awful amount of obvious references to the first film that I didn’t get. On its own, “Coming 2 America” is an uninteresting film with a lacking plot.  

The film includes a lot of themes of traditions versus change, such as the fact that Prince Akeem wishes to establish his unfit son as heir to the throne, rather than changing the patriarchal laws that prohibit his strong and wise daughter, Meeka (KiKi Layne), from succeeding him. Though these themes are modern and interesting, the film focuses too much on Akeem grooming his illegitimate son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler), for the throne and honestly gives little to no screen time or story for Meeka’s character to flourish and come into her own as the future queen of Zamunda.  

One of the things “Coming 2 America” has going for it is its star-studded cast. Aside from having many actors from the first film return as their original characters, like James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall and John Amos; the film also features many cameos from great comedians, actors and musicians like Trevor Noah, Colin Jost, Morgan Freeman, R&B pop group En Vogue, hip hop group Salt-N-Pepa, Gladys Knight and more.  

Overall, “Coming 2 America” was largely uninteresting, tired and relied too much on making nostalgic references for fans of the original. Out of curiosity, though, I watched the original film afterward and finally understood all the references the sequel made. Aside from that, I realized that the original film, “Coming to America,” was much funnier, more interesting and more enjoyable with charming characters and an interesting plot. You might enjoy “Coming 2 America” if you’re a big fan of the original because of all its nostalgic references and reused jokes. If you’re on the fence about watching it or are new to the franchise, I’d suggest settling on watching the original, twice even. 

Rating: 2.5/5 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @zamundaroyals on Instagram.

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