Coming to America (1 & 2)

D: John Landis
Paramount (George Folsey, Jr. & Robert D. Wachs)
USA 🇺🇸 1988
116 mins


W: David Sheffield & Barry Blaustein
DP: Woody Omens
Ed: Malcolm Campbell & George Folsey, Jr.     
Mus: Nile Rodgers
PD: Richard MacDonald
Cos: Deborah Nadoolman
Makeup: Rick Baker

Eddie Murphy (Prince Akeem / various other characters), Arsenio Hall (Semmi / various), John Amos (Cleo McDowell), James Earl Jones (King Jaffe), Shari Headley (Lisa McDowell), Madge Sinclair (Queen Aeoleon)

Amongst the last truly funny Eddie Murphy films, with the comedian playing multiple characters with the aid of Rick Baker's fantastic makeup.
Predominantly the story follows Murphy as an African prince, from the fictional country of Zamunda, who breaks off his arranged marriage to travel to New York City to choose his own bride who will love him for himself, not for his powerful status.
The film contains some good comedy moments, with Murphy himself providing most of them in his various guises, but there's also some satirical asides to product placement (Prince Akeem and his aide get a job in a McDonald's clone restaurant; a running joke in the movie, among many others).

Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall in Coming to America
Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall in Coming to America


D: Craig Brewer

Amazon/Paramount/New Republic (Eddie Murphy & Kevin Misher)

US 🇺🇸 2021

110 mins


W: Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield

DP: Joe Williams

Ed: David S. Clark & Billy Fox

Mus: Jermaine Stegall

Eddie Murphy (King Akeem / various other characters), Arsenio Hall (Semmi / various other characters), Jermaine Fowler (Lavelle Junson), Leslie Jones (Mary Junson), Tracy Morgan (Reem Junson), KiKi Layne (Princess Meeka), Wesley Snipes (General Izzi), James Earl Jones (King Jaffe)

If a film doesn’t get a sequel for 33 years, then it’s a good sign that it didn’t need one in the first place. Coming To America didn’t need a sequel, certainly not one which recycles the plot from the first movie and relocates the story to the fictional African kingdom of Zamunda.

Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Akeem, now crowned king after the passing of his father, who briefly visits New York City to locate his illegitimate son and groom him for an arranged marriage to prevent a war with a bordering (fictional) country, Nextdoria.  However, his son wants to find love on his own and falls for somebody else.

The humour is toned down from the original film to garner a more family-friendly age rating and, of course, some identity politics is crammed in for good measure because it’s a film released in the age of Twitter.  In fairness, the feminist subplot isn’t a bad one, but it just seems to be there as an afterthought.

The film should really have been called Coming To Zamunda, since the brief scenes in America only feature for fan service and nostalgic purposes only, everything else is a boring, unfunny retread.


Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America
Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America