30 years after Eddie Murphy brought Prince Akeem of Zamunda to life in the classic comedy Coming To America, Murphy reprises the role in its long and highly anticipated sequel. A sequel that wants to desperately keep alive the royal remnants of the past, with a touch of feminism throw in for good measure, it’s the lazy script forgetting this was supposed to be a comedy and its try-hard attitude that dunks this blah revisiting into the less than impressive follow-up pile.
The story begins three decades after Akeem (Eddie Murphy) set off for Queens to find the bride of his choice. Now very much settled in Zamunda, middle-aged, happily married to Lisa (Shari Headley) and three beautiful and fierce daughters later, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) reveals on his death bed Akeem sired a bastard son back in Queens on his quest. Lest we forget though, what makes his search for his son even more urgent is the threat he faces from the neighbouring country’s General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) who wants Meeka for a wife to his son to take over Akeems beloved land.
With no thought to his eldest daughter Meeka – who is more than capable of inheriting the throne from Akeem – he heads back to Queens to find his ticket touting, lacking in any real prospects, son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler), brings him and his mother (Leslie Jones) back to Zamunda to make a prince out of him as his new heir because, you know, girls aren’t allowed to take on the throne thanks to the antiquated traditions.
Guaranteed to bring a smile or two for the nostalgia loving public a plethora of original cast and characters make a return from Arsenio Hall’s Semmi, John Amos’ Cleo McDowell who has a branch of the famed fast-food restaurant McDowell’s firmly established in the African plains amongst others. The royal bathers/sex slaves are still a thing; even visiting women now have their own male bathers to make them feel right at home.
Even the royal announcer graces us with his falsetto when he wacks out a rendition of Prince’s Get Off’ that will have you jiving in your seat. For those wanting a bit of sexual chocolate from Randy Watson, oh boy you won’t be disappointed. It’s also laced with cameos galore from En Vogue and Salt N Peppa to Morgan Freeman, but what is rather perplexing is the return of the Barbershop four, who in the original wasn’t that far off from their deathbeds but 30 years later they are still alive and well and get a free trip abroad.
Director Craig Brewer has even dabbled in the art of de-ageing as flashbacks to the nightclub scene make a comeback to reveal what happened the night Lavelle was conceived, but despite trying to stay faithful to the 80’s hit comedy and even with the original writers David Sheffield and Barry Blaustein onboard to pen this the jokes never quite get off the ground and for the most land flat on its Royal face. This could be a fine example of losing its focus trying too hard to live up to the hype.
Coming 2 America hits Amazon Prime Video March 5th