Coming 2 America ★★★
Starring Eddie Murphy, James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, Jermaine Fowler
A comedy sequel is always something to look forward to. What are our heroes up to now? Are they as hilarious as they were last time? Have they aged as well as I think I have since the original? All of these are legitimate questions. All of them were questions to ask yourself going in to Coming 2 America; a hotly anticipated follow up to the 80's classic and the continued return to the limelight of the legend that is Eddie Murphy.
The premise is one that's familiar to anyone who's seen a sequel; they reverse what they did last time by staying at home instead of going to New York, and the stakes change from finding a wife to finding, now King Akeem's (Murphy) heir. Everything else is largely similar but aged around 30 years.
There is something comforting and fun in a comedy sequel which is present in this movie too. Follow-ups always try and up their game, with bigger set pieces and more obscure laughs. In the first act all of that works very well with plenty on offer including great gags, cameos and a return to form for all its stars. Murphy and Arsenio Hall (Semmi) are not as buoyant as they were 30 years ago (who is?), but their presence is welcome, even if their laughs aren't as frequent. Watching Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) learn to become a Prince is great and ridiculous at times. Pure 'Friday night in' stuff but again, it doesn't always land as they want it to.
The second half loses its way and what they gained initially is lost by the end. It becomes another bland sequel with not a huge deal to offer. Its new stars are not showcased enough and the final character developments feel slightly rushed even though they had plenty of time to play with.
Coming 2 America is definitely an entertaining movie. Even though pictures like this are quickly forgotten, it doesn't mean that they are bereft of pleasure and entertainment. On the whole this is a fun and great opportunity to be back in their world. The barbershop is just as brilliant as it was before and the comedy is, at times, razor sharp. It could have been more than it was but is worth one watch, then forgetting about a week later; like all the great but naff sequels in history.
Coming 2 America available now on Amazon Prime