It’s been 33 years since pampered African Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) first came to America, and in 2021, he will return.
King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) is getting older, and as he prepares his son Akeem to take his place, he reveals that he has tracked down Akeem’s bastard American son, a son Akeem didn’t know he had, a little souvenir from that trip to Queens more than thirty years ago. Akeem and Lisa (Shari Headley) have three daughters, but women can’t inherit the throne in Zamunda. Fearing instability upon his passing, particularly from General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), King Joffer urges Akeem to go to America and bring home his first-born male heir in order to keep their kingdom peaceful.
As you can imagine, learning that you’re a prince is a bit of surprise, and it’s a bit of a culture shock when Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) does indeed return to the palace with the dad he never knew, with Mom Mary (Leslie Jones) and Uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan) in tow to add a little…flavour to the royal proceedings. Akeem has selected a bride for his son, the alluring and diplomatically wise choice, Bopoto, daughter of General Izzi. But it is the palace groomer Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha) who catches Lavelle’s eye. As every man becomes his father, Akeem finds himself in the position of forbidding Lavelle’s love match and enforcing the political one. Akeem was supposed to be different when he was king but it looks like he’ll follow in his father’s footsteps, for better of worse.
This movie isn’t a remake but it’s awfully close, following the events of the first film like they’re identical twins, even repeating a lot of the same jokes. Murphy reassembles the entire team and there’s no denying this sequel is an extreme act of fan service and that Eddie Murphy himself is having a grand old time reliving his youth and revisiting a pivotal time in his life and career. The result is surprisingly watchable. Is it great? No. But it’s fun and familiar improving on the first, delivering a more modern and more quickly paced comedy. Murphy and director Craig Brewer work well together, but since both are mega fans of the first film, they’re content to coast on its fumes. Ultimately Coming 2 America is 110 minutes devoted to remembering how great Coming To America was. It’s a cast reunion with some great costumes and some fun cameos. It’s a celebration 33 years in the making and if you were a fan of the first, you’re walking away happy.