There are far too many flaws in the much-anticipated comedy sequel Coming 2 America list. But they all start and end with the unfortunate but predictable fact. That the movie didn’t need to be made in the first place. It’s difficult to grasp the movie’s goals, sort through its dubious humour. And imagine who its intended audience is when both sides of the Atlantic are bombarded with tired tropes and stereotypes of black people.
Coming to America(1988), starring Eddie Murphy, has always been a fairytale about a prince in search of true love. A hopeful heir to an African kingdom travels to the United States. In search of a bride “that will arouse both his intellect and his loins.”
The film failed to mention what happens after the prince meets his bride, in between the quest for love. Run-ins with beat-boxing twins, a minimum wage job at McDonald’s, and making elderly friends at the barbershop. What are the economic realities of Zamunda, a mythical nation? Are women treated as second-class citizens in that country? What happened to the woman who was barking?
Coming 2 America 2021 Film Review:
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Fortunately for us, Eddie had a generous streak, rewarding his fans with yet another sequel in his long and patchy list of cult classic sequels. Coming 2 American follows in the footsteps of Beverly Hill Cop2, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, and Dr. Dolittle 2 in employing a new crop of poor makeup artists and Arsenio Hall.
As if it had just awoken from a 33-year coma, the film is unexpectedly burdened with the guilt of doing the right thing. Themes of patriarchy and misogyny are taken up as part of the post-MeToo disciplinary steps. These concepts not only influence the film’s overall plot. But also trigger subtle but noticeable changes in its tone.
The film’s needless life is encapsulated by a trifold illustration of an outdated use of sexual harassment humour. Bygone stereotypes of Africans, and classic caricatures of black Americans. Despite a half-hearted effort to push in some perfunctory feminist concepts along the way. Coming 2 America struggles to both update its sensibilities to this period and replicate the fantastical yet hilarious notions. That made the original truly brilliant, flaws and all.
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If this was Coming 2 America’s primary flaw, it would be forgiven by some if it was also amusing, charming, and had a compelling plot. None of these are present. A film’s failure in one area does not prevent it from being enjoyable. And more importantly, succeeding as a whole. Comedy, like any other film genre, can both reach its bar and contain elements. That leave something to be desired; a film’s failure in one area does not preclude it from being enjoyable. And, more importantly, succeeding as a whole.
Coming 2 America’s entire issue is that not only is the whole not greater than the sum of its bits, but there are no great parts at all. What stands out, though, is how the film uses. And weaponizes stereotypes of Africans and black Americans in its portrayals.
“What do we have besides superhero sh*t, remakes, and sequels to old movies nobody asked for?” One character asks another at one point in the film, in a moment of self-awareness. There is never a satisfactory response. Neither in their conversation nor in Coming 2 America do they mention it.
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