March 16, 2021

Coming 2 America, the sequel to the 1988 cult classic starring Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem, an affluent monarch of the fictitious African kingdom of Zamunda, packs little more than a present-day batch of progressive platitudes, seasoned with perfunctory attempts to woo audiences with nostalgic odes to the original film. 

The biggest fault of Coming 2 America is that it feels as if the idea to make the sequel was first decided upon, and only later was a plot haphazardly stitched together to justify its existence. Lazily regurgitating a slew of scenes and dialogue from the original makes the sequel, released 33 years after the original, strikingly gratuitous. 

We learn that in the original Coming to America, Prince Akeem was apparently drugged and date raped. Not only is Eddie Murphy being drugged and raped passable as a comedic plot point by progressive standards, but it is the entire raison d’être of this film. 

Attempting to further expand the made-up world of Zamunda, the sequel introduces a neighboring state — literally named Nexdoria — a dictatorship which, while plagued with poverty, somehow musters the military might to force the opulent Prince Akeem into a quandary. He must marry off his male heir to the daughter of the junta’s general, Izzi (Wesley Snipes.) And so, Akeem, in need of a progeny, must travel back to America, and find his bastard child.

Despite the film’s title, Akeem’s journey back to America is short lived; the bulk of the film takes place in Zamunda, and revolves around the fabled monarchy’s political affairs, as Akeem prepares his newfound son for marriage into the neighboring clan. 

The original Coming to America from 1988, was hilariously premised on the idea of an exuberantly wealthy prince attempting to fit in and live modestly amongst the financially feeble peons of Queens, New York. It was a clash of culture and economic class, told through the untainted lens of the 1980s. Capable of evoking a raunchy, yet organic humor that had not yet been adulterated by the nauseating fume of present day wokeness. 

In Coming 2 America, the jokes lack any semblance of subtly and are never just allowed to linger unexplained. Every punchlineis mundanely clarified. In one scene, Prince Akeem’s rapist, Mary Junson (played adequately by Leslie Jones, while missing the opportunity to expand Cardi B’s acting portfolio), after boasting of her copious sexual conquests, is introduced as “Mary, like the virgin.” The characters in the back then proceed to unnecessarily explain the blatant sarcasm, “Virgin? Not our Mary. She ain’t no virgin.” 

The script feels as if it was written by an Eddie Murphy who had been held hostage by the “Woke Police” and forced to perform with doggedly progressive platitudes expressed in every scene. This is even worse for Murphy, given that the entire reason this movie exists is that his character was apparently already drugged and raped. Whereas the original film had no obvious connections to real life events or politics, the present-day progressivism that permeates Hollywood shines through such trite material as: 

A joke about Mitt Romney? Check!

“Ain’t nobody gonna hire you over these Mitt Romney looking…”

A completely random appraisal and adulation of Barack Obama? Check! 

“America has certainly changed since our last visit, your black president finally united this great country.”

A completely random reference to the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that nobody outside the Twittersphere remembers anymore? You guessed it! 

“Yeah but it’s all going to die now. Nazis are back, but now they dress like the Best Buy Geek Squad and they want to kill people.”

Where the first film was inventive and brimming with such quotable lines as, “Freeze, you diseased rhinoceros pizzle.” Or, “America is such a vast land. Where will you go? New York, or Los Angeles,” Coming 2 America feels entirely forced and uncomfortable, barely able to cause a chuckle, let alone a genuine laugh.  

In another scene, Prince Akeem’s son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) — the bastard child conceived after Akeem’s rape — is at a job interview. His uncle advises him, “don’t use white voice,” as Lavelle walks into the meeting, making way for a painfully dragged out scene, tailored to score political points with progressive critics. 

In a display of such glaringly cartoonish racism which could only be believed to exist in the aloof echo chambers of Tinseltown, Lavelle and the interviewer spar in racial stereotypes. The interviewer candidly asks, “it says here you didn’t graduate college… was your mom addicted to drugs… was your pops in the picture?” And went on to cite Neil DeGrasse Tyson, referring to the African American astrophysicist to Lavelle as “your guy.” The interviewer than conceded to his own typecasts, predictably having attended a preppy boarding school, having spent time in rehab, and having donned blackface. 

The original Coming to America was a film made in a different era. It was a culture still capable of understanding humor and taking a joke. Its sequel, Coming 2 America bears none of that. Worse, it’s a humorless film, born of a humorless culture, fit only for a humorless era.

Originally Published at The Daily Wire