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Coming 2 America


Stars: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Shari Headley, Wesley Snipes, Kiki Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha, James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, John Amos, Leslie Jones, John Legend

Director: Craig Brewer

Colourful, noisy, empty, belated sequel to the 1988 film with many of the original cast returning to their roles. Desperate to appeal to a family audience, the movie, presumably intended as a riotous comedy, ends up as a sort of adventure-comedy-romance-light drama, falling between nearly as many stools as that would suggest. The film is borderline embarrassing and brutally unfunny.

At least the picture gets a plethora of sex references and below-the-belt 'jokes', that went out more than decade ago, over in the first reel or so, to more or less settle down to being a 30-years-after story that enables Murphy and Hall - the latter particularly extraneous - to play several different roles to generally teeth-grinding effect.

Murphy's principal role is as before, the African Prince Azeem of Zamunda, about to take over the throne from his dying father (a perpetually grinning Earl Jones) as king. He has, however, fathered only daughters (three of them), so, when notified that he has a bastard son (much is made of the word bastard) in America, he jets back there to take the bewildered 30-year-old back to Zamunda as his heir.

Lavelle (Fowler) turns out to be the indolent - and bafflingly diminutive - son of Akeem and giant-sized Mary (Jones), who must undergo a series of tests to prove himself a worthy heir to the Zamundan throne.

An all-too-distinguished cast struggles noticeably with a direly banal script, Morgan Freeman's cough-and-spit appearance at the start being an especially toe-curling experience. Layne, as Akeem's feisty, stick-fighting oldest daughter, provides a rare bright spot.

David Quinlan

USA 2021. UK Distributor: Amazon (originally Paramount/New Republic). Colour by Deluxe.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 05 Mar 2021