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Coming 2 America (2021)

So I watched Coming 2 America (2021) last night...

Where do I start?

Ok, I’ll start at the beginning.

I love the first film! It’s one of the best comedies - hell, it’s one of the best MOVIES the 80s produced so needless to say I, along with a lot of other people was super excited about the prospect of a sequel.

As is often the case, long awaited sequels to some of our favourite films rarely deliver on the same level, so before I even heard people saying Coming 2 America was disappointing I was already prepared for it to not live up to my expectations.

Bear in mind I watched this movie with an open mind. Obviously I wanted to love it, but at the same time I was ready for disappointment, and disappointed I was.

Here are my thoughts and they contain spoilers...

Straight off I noticed how polished everything was. I know the original was made in the 80s and 80s films were generally grittier than anything we get now but still, this new one was super polished and high production which to me, didn’t feel very “Coming to America”. I also wasn’t keen on the musical aspect of cramming En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa in early on - although seeing Gladys Night perform an alternative version of Midnight Train to Georgia was pretty cool, especially since Wesley Snipes has a conversation about her with Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump (1992) and he co-stars in this movie.

I also liked John Legend’s rendition of “She’s your queen to be” over the end credits.

I digress...

Wesley Snipes I thought was one of the best things about the film. I’m a fan of his anyway and it’s really good to see him back on our screens after his legal troubles. Sadly though his character was very one dimensional, as were most of the other characters (I’ll get into that shortly).

I wasn’t keen on the story...

The first one had so much charm, helped greatly by the likeability and nobleness (is that a word?) of Eddie Murphy’s character, Akeem. His son in this sequel wasn’t particularly likeable so it was hard to route for him or even care about him.

I didn’t pick up on the chemistry between him and the woman he chose to marry so I didn’t buy into the love story.

Also, I’m assuming a DNA test was done off screen because it was just accepted that he was Akeem’s son...

On top of all this I was expecting more to made of Akeem’s eldest daughter’s story. It hinted early on that it was going to go somewhere but it just got put to one side and didn’t really amount to anything.

As good as it was to see so many of the actors from the first film return for this sequel, it seemed like a lot of them were just ornaments, put on display for nostalgia rather than because their role served a purpose. This is especially true with Lisa, Akeem’s wife.

In the original film she was a strong, independent young woman who wouldn’t be pushed around. In this film she’s kind of just...there and pretty much goes along with everything. That’s not the Lisa from the 1988 film.

Over all I was thoroughly disappointed. When I find myself looking to see how much time is left on a film that’s usually a sign that I’m not into it. If this hadn’t been a sequel to a film I love, I probably would’ve turned it off half way through which is sad for me to say.

I felt like they thought the title, bringing all of the original cast back, using some of the same jokes and the general nostalgia for the first film would be enough to please people. Unfortunately they seemed to forget that a decent story would’ve gone down well too.

Dumb and Dumber To (2014) is also guilty of all of these things and I didn’t enjoy that either. It also has a very similar storyline...

As much as I’ve just savaged this film, if you haven’t seen it and you’ve made it this far you should still give it a watch. You might enjoy it a lot more than I did.

I probably won’t watch it again but it certainly won’t ruin my enjoyment of the vastly superior original.

Seen it? What did you think?

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