COMING 2 AMERICA
by louise giAdom
(3/5 stars = ★★★)
Coming 2 America was exactly how I imagined it would be which was the most disappointing part of watching this film. When I first watched the trailer my heart sank, the film looked like it had been hit full force by the formulaic system Hollywood had been working with for a few years now and I knew it would be yet another basic Hollywood comedy so different from the classic that was its predecessor. Fast forward a few months, I had a preconception of the film in mind from the trailer but family members loved the film, praised it quite highly actually and so I tried to go in with an open mind. Fifteen minutes into the film I thought the same question as when I watched the trailer: why was this film made?
Yes, the film brings back beloved characters and it’s a great reunion for comedy royalty like its star Eddie Murphy however there were so many things wrong with this film. Firstly, Prince Akeem’s son. The key concept of Prince Akeem having a son is fine in of itself, the issue arrives when we’re told how he was conceived which was through non-consensual sex. Akeem was drugged by a woman his confidante had previously approached at the nightclub they were at and didn’t even remember having slept with her. Comedy is a weird subject where the taboo can be made somewhat funny but this just didn’t work for me and I feel that there could have been a much better way of approaching the ‘mysterious son’ without this particular scenario.
This coincidentally provides a segue into the biggest problem with this film which is that it just isn’t that funny. Ironically the scenes that made me laugh the most were from the first film or at the very end during the bloopers in the credits. There was nothing particularly outstanding in terms of comedy for this film which feels bad to say considering the first film was hilarious.
I did enjoy the snippets of African culture we got to see through the costumes and dancing. Akeem’s eldest daughter Meeka [Kiki Layne] had the best outfits in my opinion and it was great to see so much colourful and vibrant African attire. Also, that Trevor Noah appearance! I had no idea he would be in it and it was a highlight of the film.
Outside of the ‘finding my long lost son’ story there was the political one where Meeka, assumingly next in line to the throne, isn’t allowed to become queen due to outdated ideals, hence finding the long lost son. By the end of the film we get the expected resolution in that she will get to become queen and Zamunda will begin its journey to getting more with the times, so to speak. We got peeks of this storyline and I would’ve loved to delve into this more but I realise that probably wouldn’t have worked considering it’s meant to be a comedy.
So. I wasn’t a fan of this film. There’s nothing worse than a comedy that really isn’t funny and well, the laughs were few and far between. Sequels aren’t always guaranteed to be as good as the first film, we’ve seen that countless times with Hollywood but this was especially questionable. It’s been thirty odd years, maybe it would have been best to leave a good thing alone.
The next annoying thing that stood out to me was the representation of the poor, dark-skinned American Black family that we got in Lavelle [Jermaine Fowler] and his mum [Leslie Jones]. It constantly seemed that Lavelle and his mum were to be seen in contrast to the royal family, which of course they were, but it seemed problematic because these two American dark-skinned characters seemed stereotypical in their portrayal, the uncivilised, outsiders with no class. It took most of the movie for the two families to accept each other though it was more the outsiders being accepted than a mutual thing.