Coming 2 America(Amazon Prime Video)
Starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Teyana Taylor, Wesley Snipes, and James Earl Jones
Directed by Craig Brewer
Rating: ** *
Sequels seldom have a life of their own. They are born out of a desire to cash in on a successful formula, and hence duplicitous by their very nature. As far as sequels go, Coming 2 Americawhich comes 31 years after the first film, is not as strained and strenuous as one would expect a 30-year old plot to be. The story is revitalized and reloaded with a whole lot of music and laughter thrown in, so that we get swept away in the tide of tempestuous gaiety.
It’s all for a laugh. And once we fall into rhythm with the lack of lofty ambitions the film never stops being engaging as King Hakeem(Eddie Murphy), sets out get his wastrel son Lavelle(Jermaine Fowler) , whom he never knew about, from New York to the Kingdom of Zamunda. Lavelle ,who over the course of the new couple of hours turns out to be surprisingly straitlaced and likeable, insists on bringing his mother with him to Zamunda.
And thank God for that! As the mother of Hakeem’s illegitimate child Leslie Jones brings the roof down. She is coarse loud abrasive and happily middleclass. Her run-in with royalty in Zamunda including Hakeem’s stiff upperlipped wife Queen Lisa(Shari Headley) is uproariously funny .
Often times I found myself laughing out loud at King Hakeem’s discomfort with a world that has rapidly changed while Eddie Murphy(who plays Hakeem) was busy making other movies. While shoveling out laughs the films makes space to take digs at patriarchal eccentricities such as the craze for a male heir. Hakeem’s two daughters have turned out into fine capable potential administrators. But no. Hakeem must retrieve his son from the suburban mess to fulfill the need for an heir to the throne.
While the plot is a puny giggle provider, the dancing and singing helps in boosting the torrent of braggadocio to something far less toxic and tolerable. In one song and dance Hakeem’s father(the legendary James Earl Jones) insists on witnessing his funereal feast before his death.
Eddie Murphy has lost none of his comic timing, though like I said , Leslie Jones as his once-upon-a-time one-night-stand is the scenestealer. Another veteran Black actor Wesley Snipes is also a hoot as the villainous kingdom scum, with a docile but dishy daughter(Teyana Taylor) who wants Hakeem’s heir apparent for herself at any cost.
The twists and turns in the plot will have you in splits.Watch this with your kids. It’s a delightfully wholesome innuendo-liberated comedy with some nippy lessons on parenting .