Coming 2 America review: Eddie Murphy makes his big comeback in this hilarious sequel

Coming 2 America -- Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Coming 2 America -- Courtesy of Amazon Studios /

Eddie Murphy returns to star as African Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America  on Amazon Prime Video. It has been 33 years since the long-awaited sequel hit the big screen in 1988. Coming to America launched a cultural movement into the pop culture zeitgeist before Black Panther‘s “Wakanda forever” fandom emerged.

The sequel is faithful to the comedic structure of the first film that made fans fall in love with a handsome Prince from Zamunda, who traveled to find a beautiful Princess from Queens. Arsenio Hall returns as Semmi, with new cast members Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan onboard, as well as Wesley Snipes playing General Izzi, an African warlord from Nextdooria.

Craig Brewer directs Coming 2 America as a sentimental love letter to the original film. The audience will delight in seeing so many of their favorite characters return. Time has passed, but we notice that some things are still the same. It was satisfying to see the progression of Shari Headley’s reign as Queen Lisa of Zamunda with her three daughters.

Easter eggs are sprinkled into the story like little nuggets of joy, with throwbacks to Trading Places and Vanessa Bell Calloway’s obedient dog barker. We also see that John Amos’ fast food restaurant owner is still arguing that McDowell’s is nothing like McDonald’s. He can’t resist making this claim while hawking his knock-off version of a McFlurry ice cream dessert.

The inclusion of fresh faces like KiKi Layne playing Murphy’s feminist daughter, Meeka, and Jermaine Fowler as his naïve son, breathes new life into the plot. Kenya Barris (Black-ish) wrote the script about Prince Akeem’s quest to find his male heir to the throne in accordance with the laws of the land. A woman can never rule. His father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), explains that the solution to keep peace in their kingdom is to find any way in his power to appease bloodthirsty General Izzi.

Akeem discovers the identity of his male child after his aide Semmi discloses that something happened 30 years ago, when they were on a mission to find his bride in Queens, N.Y. The Prince does not remember all the details because he was under the influence during his hook-up with Mary (played by Saturday Night Live‘s Leslie Jones). Akeem and Semmi dispatch the royal jet, returning to Queens in search of his offspring, Lavelle (played by comedian Jermaine Fowler). No one blurts out that a 23andMe paternity kit should be used to resolve the riddle about whether Lavelle is really Akeem’s blood heir.

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Lavelle returns back to Africa with his mother Mary, where they are both treated like royalty and given an overview of their duties to their new country. There is apparent tension in the Joffer household because Akeem’s eldest daughter, Meeka, believes she should ascend to the throne as the rightful heir to the kingdom. The movie will definitely satisfy your appetite to see nostalgic iconic characters from the past. Morris, Clarence, Sweets, and Saul all return to provide witty jokes and colorful commentary in the My-T-Sharp barbershop. It takes Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall six hours to complete the transformations for each of these roles. It’s well worth the wait just to witness the banter between their characters.

The celebrity cameos are another highlight of the movie, with appearances by Morgan Freeman, Teyana Taylor, Trevor Noah, Rick Ross, Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, Gladys Knight, Garcelle Beauvais and many more. Choreographer Fatima Robinson coordinated several elaborate musical numbers that are a treat to watch. One of my favorite scenes is an updated seductive version of Prince’s Gett Off with Teyana Taylor, backed by an African drumline and a rap solo from Prince Lavelle. Oscar winner Ruth E. Carter added another element to marvel at with her intricately detailed African costume designs for the whole ensemble in the production filmed at Tyler Perry Studios.

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Coming 2 America is a fun nostalgic trip to Zamunda via the regal borough of Queens that everyone will enjoy. The laughs keep coming as the cast entertains you with their sweet charm and perfect timing. Eddie Murphy fans will rejoice at seeing the comic genius back on the screen in top form. All hail the King of Comedy because Murphy has returned to claim his regal throne in this hilarious film.