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Coming 2 America

Cracking a joke about unnecessary sequels in your unnecessary sequel is a dick move. It's not meta or self-aware; it's a busted ass attempt to justify the existence of something that has no reason for existing. Kind of like Fox News and the Trump presidency.

The way-too-late-to-the-party sequel Coming 2 America tries that gimmick, and it works as well as everything else in a movie the world didn't want or need. The original came out back in 1988 when Eddie "Money" Murphy was still cool. He'd recently ended his stint being the best thing about Saturday Night Live. He'd made the leap to the big screen with classics like 48 Hours, Trading Places, and Beverly Hills Cop. He hadn't yet pivoted into "family friendly" bullshit or been caught with a transsexual hooker.

After a long absence from the A-List, Murphy looks to be trying to find the spotlight again with Coming 2 America and a few other upcoming projects, including a new Beverly Hills Cop sequel. As in Coming to America, Murphy plays prince, now king, Akeem of the wealthy, fictional African country called Zamunda. Arsenio "Dog Pound" Hall returns as Semmi, Akeem's bestie/servant. And once again, both men play multiple characters, including at least one in whiteface, which I guess is a form of reparations?

In the first movie, Akeem went to America to find true love. In the sequel, he comes back to America to find his bastard son. Don't pitch a fit about me calling him a bastard, because he's called that in the movie about two dozen times. It's supposed to be funny. Like most everything else in the flick, it ain't.

When Murphy and Hall aren't playing dress up, Coming 2 America fills its nearly two-hour runtime with cameo after cameo. Morgan "Captain Narration" Freeman, who's apparently a resident of Zamunda, narrates a tribute to Akeem's father, played by James "My Name Is" Earl Jones. Salt-N-Pepa update one of their hits with lyrics about the royal family. Trevor "Daily Show" Noah drops exposition as a TV anchorman. Tracy "Jordan" Morgan plays yet another version of himself, seemingly improvising most of his dialogue. And Leslie "Mrs." Jones bridges the gap between old (meaning good) and new (meaning shit) SNL.

I think I laughed once when Murphy looked directly into the camera when someone referenced James Brown. Because Murphy used to play James Brown on SNL. Hi-fucking-larious.

March 19, 2021

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