Coming 2 America reviewed: The 80s called, they want their movie back

Hollywood needs to stop remaking and making movie sequels from two or more decades ago that nobody asked for and Eddie Murphy needs to accept that his brand of comedy just doesn't work this side of the year 2000.

Coming 2 America premiered globally on 5 March 2021. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Imagine a parent who was very popular and cool back in the 1980s when they were in high school trying to relive their glory days and keep up with what’s hot in the 21st century, but just being overly cringey while at it? Well, that’s what it felt like watching Coming 2 America.

Hollywood needs to stop remaking and making movie sequels from two or more decades ago that nobody asked for, and Eddie Murphy needs to accept that his brand of comedy just doesn't work this side of the year 2000.

The movie premiered globally on 5 March to a world that has limited access to cinemas due to coronavirus and lockdowns. However, it's still banking on its all-star cast and old and new fans to draw in decent numbers.

A short synopsis of the movie is as follows: The reigning King of Zamunda, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), is on his deathbed, which means Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) is ready to ascend to the throne.

But, the problem is that Prince Akeem - who has three daughters with his wife Princess Lisa Joffer (Shari Headley) - does not have a male heir who will take his place when he dies.

Well, at least he thinks he does not have an heir until he is told the truth about an illegitimate son (Jermaine Fowler who plays Lavelle Joffer) born out of a one-night-stand from his first adventure in Queens, New York.

So begins the quest to find this son, with the help of his loyal friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) and bring him home to assume his place as prince.

Coming 2 America also stars our own superstar Nomzambo Mbatha as Mirembe, Lavelle's love interest.

THE GOOD

One thing that immediately catches the viewer's attention when watching the movie is the outfits.

It's clear that a lot of thought and work went into each and every outfit for the entire cast, including extras. It comes as no surprise, however, as the woman in charge of costumes is Oscar award-winning Ruth E Carter, who was also behind the spectacular wardrobe in Black Panther.

South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo's MaXhosa brand features prominently throughout the movie, including in almost all of Mbatha's appearances.

There are two other South African touches to watch out for: Trevor Noah and a song by MiCasa, but we won't give it all away.

Speaking of music, older audiences and those who've seen and are fans of the original movie will appreciate performances in the movie by black American pop-culture icons such as Gladys Knight and Salt & Peppa.

I quite enjoyed the fact that all of the original cast members were brought back, except for Madge Sinclair, who played Akeem's mother and sadly passed away in 1995. It was nice to see how they have aged since, but still possess the same level of talent displayed 30 years ago.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

Like I said earlier, this movie should have been left as the black pop-culture icon it was from the 80s.

But, when it comes to Murphy, that's out of the question. Looking back at all the previous comedies led by him, they all have at least two sequels, which are either okay or just bad. Coming 2 America is no exception.

The "African" accents are not even close to an attempt to sound African. The backward jokes about Africa, which may have been amusing a generation ago, are now just plain offensive. And the least they could have done was to cast a few more Africans.

The storyline is weak. It's just a reworked version of the old one and is predictable from the very start. It feels like a movie you've watched countless times over - and probably have.

Perhaps older teens may find the movie enjoyable, but adults may not have the same reaction.

SHOULD YOU WATCH IT?

For the sake of nostalgia, you won't lose much at all. But if you're looking for a comedic masterpiece, Coming 2 America is not the place to look.

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