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Coming 2 America

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Coming 2 America
When Semmi called Akeem "a dumpster fire," he was really referring to this movie's quality.
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Craig Brewer
Written By: Kenya Barris
Barry W. Blaustein
David Sheffield
Justin Kanew
Starring: Eddie Murphy
Arsenio Hall
Jermaine Fowler
Leslie Jones
Tracy Morgan
Wesley Snipes
James Earl Jones
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Amazon Studios
Paramount Pictures
Release Date: March 5, 2021
Runtime: 100 minutes
Country: United States
Budget: $60 million
Prequel: Coming to America

Coming 2 America is a 2021 American comedy film that serves as a sequel to the original 1988 film Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy. The film is directed by Craig Brewer from a screenplay by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield, and a story by Blaustein, Sheffield, and Justin Kanew, based on characters created by Murphy. It stars Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, and James Earl Jones. It was released digitally via Prime Video on March 5, 2021.


On the 30th anniversary of his wedding with Lisa McDowell (the final scene of Coming to America), Prince Akeem of Zamunda (Eddie Murphy) is summoned before his dying father, King Jaffe (James Earl Jones), and learns he had a son during his first visit to New York after Semmi had convinced two prostitutes to spend the night with them while Akeem was still searching for his future queen. One of them, Mary Junson (Leslie Jones), drugged Akeem, resulting in a tryst he did not remember. Prince Akeem is now made king, with the tradition demanding a male successor as prince or else Zamunda's militaristic neighbor Nexdoria will take them over. General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), the ruler over there, has been pursuing Akeem's oldest daughter Meeka, so she can marry his son. Following Akeem's coronation, he and Semmi travel back to Queens to meet his illegitimate son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler), a smart-mouthed ticket scalper struggling to get a real job. After an awkward reunion with Mary, Akeem takes them and Lavelle's uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan) back to Zamunda.

Bad Qualities

  1. The movie's entire existence originates from a rape that happened in its prequel, which is an odd choice for a sequel and doesn't work well or send the right message when you think about it, especially seeing how both Akeem and his wife Lisa welcome Mary and befriend her.
    • This was partly because the movie was in development hell and production was postponed for over a decade, meaning that they must have had to change a lot of things before settling for this plot.
  2. Plot hole: On the topic of how this film exists, it creates a huge plot hole because this movie shows that Akeem met his son’s mother at the nightclub he and Semmi visit in the first film. However, in the first film after Semmi spits out his drink at the club, the scene cuts to Akeem and Semmi returning to their apartment where they encounter Clarence the barber before then going to the pageant where Akeem would then meet Lisa. It was never acknowledged at all that Akeem and Semmi brought Lavelle’s mother and her friend back to their apartment.
  3. A lot of the scenes with Lavelle assimilating to Zamunda was a re-hash of the first film's plot, only reversed. Even down to Akeem being in Semmi's role in the first one.
    • This is especially apparent when you consider Lavelle's relationship with the hairdresser, who acts exactly like Lisa did in the first film.
  4. The travelling scene is a complete re-hash of the first film's travelling scene, to the point where Akeem and Semmi go back to the same barbershop.
    • There is a lot of reused footage in the opening sequence, which seemed unnecessary and only included as filler to increase the runtime.
  5. A lot of the scenes rip off Black Panther, like the opening, and Zamunda is even referred to as "Wakanda" by an American.
    • Lavelle's "prince clothes" look like Black Panther's traditional clothing, and General Izzi is very similar to Kilmonger in terms of appearance and personality.
  6. There is a needless pop culture reference where Akeem gets called "Black Panther". While the first film had clever references, the ones in this one didn't land as well.
  7. Several unlikable characters, including General Izzi, a villain far too stupid to be evil, and Akeem, who becomes more of a jerk in this film.
  8. There are too many things happening all at once, which makes watching it extremely confusing despite being somewhat entertaining:
    • Akeem's struggle in a higher leadership position is just an excuse for Eddie Murphy to act like an idiot, which gets tiring to watch over time.
    • Nexdoria's incoming invasion is mentioned at random moments but doesn't seem to be a real threat, as General Izzi is extremely stupid.
    • General Izzi trying to get Akeem's children to marry his also comes in at random moments and is never talked about in the second half.
    • Meeka (Akeem's oldest daughter) wanting to become the first single queen of Zamunda despite Akeem's protests seems like a useless attempt at bringing "girl power" into the narrative.
    • Reem wants to start business ventures in Zamunda and get Lavelle to join him, but this is disregarded halfway through the film.
  9. Misleading Title: Despite being called Coming 2 America, they're in Zamunda for most of the movie and America only appears for around 10 to 15 minutes of the film.
  10. Poor acting from good actors like Eddie Murphy, who acts even more stereotypically than he did in the first movie, Tracy Morgan and Wesley Snipes.
  11. A lot of the humor is forced and often disrupts some of the more heartwarming or emotional moments, and the film relies too heavily on slapstick and toilet humor.
  12. Several random references to Internet culture and quotes that feel very forced, including the aforementioned "dumpster fire" quote and Akeem saying "eyebrows on fleek," potentially a reference to the "what are those" scene from Black Panther.
  13. Not good enough direction by Craig Brewer.
  14. Unlike the first Coming to America movie, which was rated R, this sequel was sadly chopped down to a PG-13 rating.
  15. The pacing isn't that great.
  16. While it is nice to see James Earl Jones reprise his role as King Jaffe Joffer in this movie, he is incredibly under-utilised compared to the first film with him only appearing in the beginning of the film before dying, and the trailers and promotional material even spoil his death too.

Good Qualities

  1. The arguable "main" plot, with Lavelle and Mary assimilating into Zamunda and its culture, is enjoyable and fun to watch.
  2. Akeem's coronation, featuring cameo appearances by En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa singing "Whatta Man" in honor of him, as additionally enjoyable enough.
  3. Good enough acting from Leslie Jones, Arsenio Hall, and especially Jermaine Fowler, alongside some fun celebrity cameos.
  4. The costume design is very good, especially Mary's tribal dresses in the halfway point and ending.
  5. A very good soundtrack featuring '90s hip-hop and rap music.
  6. It's nice to see Eddie Murphy finally returning to media that are well-known.
  7. The cinematography, like every single Amazon movie ever, is still good.
  8. The digital release poster seems like a 2020-standard.
  9. The barber shop characters return from the first film and they are still hilarious.


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 50% based on 183 reviews with an average rating of 5.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Decades after its predecessor joked about the fine line between love and nausea, Coming 2 America reminds audiences that there's an equally fine line between sequel and retread." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100 based on 43 critics, indicating "below average reviews."

Cassie Da Costa of Vanity Fair reviewed the film unfavorably, writing that it is "startling in its utter incompetence" and "uses half-baked internet-era discourse as a substitute for meaningful or even entertaining cultural commentary". Writing for The Guardian, critic Peter Bradshaw stated that "the movie is as tired and middle-aged as Akeem [the leading character] himself". Peter Debruge of Variety said "For the most part, Coming 2 America falls back on familiar punchlines, serving up nearly word-for-word repeats of amusing bits from the original, but they don’t necessarily play the same in this context."


Despite the mixed reception, Coming 2 America earned a nomination at the 94th Academy Awards for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.



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