Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Amazon’s service Prime from director Craig Brewer is the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 COMING TO AMERICA film with COMING 2 AMERICA.

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is about to become King of Zamunda all while celebrating his 30th anniversary to Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley). Visiting his father King Jafee Joffer (James Earl Jones) he learns that he has a son when he visited America to find his bride.

Semmi (Arsenio Hall) recalls to Akeem what happened the night they went clubbing together. This news has a double-edged sword as Akeem is thrilled to have a son because in Zamunda, only a male heir sits on the throne and on the other edge is telling wife Lisa and daughter Meeka (Kiki Layne) who wants to sit on the throne.

Running to American once again, Akeem and Semmi find Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) and his mother Mary (Leslie Jones) along with Uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan). Explaining the situation, Lavelle and Mary return to Zamunda and are blown away by what they see.

Someone who is not happy about it all is General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) who decides the only way to get his foot in the palace door is by offering his daughter Bopoto (Teyana Taylor) to the new Prince Lavelle. That is when Lavelle finds out that he must past a few tests before given the title and as much as Meeka is upset, she helps her new-found brother.

Lavelle finds a special friendship in Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha) and when he over hears Akeem and Izzi making plans, he grabs his friend, mother and uncle and heads home to America. The new king follows only to discover that plans for his son are about to change and comes to realize that the world has changed and perhaps its time for a King to change as well.

Murphy as Akeem seems to have lost a little but of his 1988 innocent swagger but definetly still love his wife and three daughters. When the time comes for him to be King, he seems to have forgotten his youthful beliefs and instead seems to be embracing tradition. Murphy has his amusing moments that will win fans over having not seen Murphy in a few years.

Fowler as Lavelle comes to Zamunda to see a life he could never have imagined for himself. Trying to bring a little “America” to the palace, he seems to annoy people more than endear them. One such person annoyed is Layne as Meeka who believes she should sit on the throne after her father and not a ‘brother’ who does not know one thing about the country or how to be a king.

Hall as Semmi is still up to his old tricks but now he has a little bit of competition when Uncle Reem shows up to put him in his royal place. Hall also has his moments of humor and still a bit of a hound. Morgan as Uncle Reem gets a chance to stand up for his nephew and take on a royal family as only he can. I think the scenes between Morgan and Hall are the best of these two in the film.

Snipes as Izzi gets a chance to flex his comedic muscles and even show his dance moves as the General who wants to be part of the royals by marriage either his son to the royal daughter or his daughter to a royal and future king. Jones as Mary is a Mom who is happy to embrace the life in Zamunda in her own unique way and seems to get on the nerves of Lisa (Shari Headley). Both women end up bringing some of the most hilarious scenes when they get past the realizations of Lavelle.

Mbatha as Nomzamo is charming, sweet, endearing and probably the only sane person in the film. She has no motive or desires to be part of royalty but instead, just wants to have a business of her own.

Shout out to James Earl Jones as King Jafee Joffer because I could not imagine anyone else wearing the crown of Zamunda and still be able to chew Akeem out. Well done sir, well done!

Other cast include John Amos as Cleo McDowell, Vanessa Calloway as Imani Izzi, Paul Bates as Oha, Bella Murphy as Omma, Akiley Love as Tinashe, Louie Anderson as Maurice, Trevor Noah as Totasi Bibinyana, Luenell as Livia and Morgan Freeman as Morgan Freeman.  

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.

COMING 2 AMERICA has taken its time to come to the screen (even if it is smaller than we would have liked) and it is filled with flashbacks, familiar faces and stretched out comedy. I have to say that I do not think a real king would take someone’s word about the parentage of a child but then again it is Murphy’s way of storytelling I suppose.  

Happy to see the film take place in the backwards Zamunda, I mean seriously? No woman on the throne and no women owned businesses? What happened to you Akeem? You used to be so cool but I guess since you got Lisa that’s as far as your aspirations of royal went. Thank goodness for Meeka to be a constant reminder that a strong young woman can hold her ground.

Other than those few opinionated points, COMING 2 AMERICA did the smart thing by being released on Prime. It made it possible for a wider audience to see the film because we still live in a world where taking the whole family to the theatre is still kind of costly, streaming means the WHOLE family can enjoy in the comfort of home.

So, gather up your own royal family and take a trip to Zamunda without ever leaving the couch and prepare to giggle because we all need that!

In the end – a sequel is in the heir!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.