Sequels always have a lot to live up to and usually don’t succeed in surpassing the original picture. However, sometimes it can just be a joy revisiting some old characters.
Both are true for “Coming 2 America.”
The film takes place 30 years after the events of the last movie. Following the death of his father, Akeem Joffer is crowned King of Zamunda and he has three daughters. The oldest, Meeka (KiKi Layne) is well trained in combat and diplomacy, yet she is ineligible for the throne, as only a male heir can inherit the role. This is soon pointed out in the first act by General Izzi, the leader of Zamunda’s neighboring nation of Nexdoria. In a meeting between the two nations, Izzi says Akeem’s lack of a male heir is a sign that the future of the throne is in trouble.
However, Akeem soon learns that he actually did have a son, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) with a woman in New York named Mary (Leslie Jones). Akeem, joined by his best friend and advisor Semmi (Arsenio Hall) travel to New York and bring Lavelle and his mother back to Zamunda. There, Akeem begins teaching how Lavelle should act, as he is now the crown prince and heir to the Zamundan throne.
If you’ve watched more than a dozen movies in your life, you can figure out exactly what’s going to happen in “Coming 2 America.” It has a story that’s completely familiar, with standard developments at each step. Despite that, though, it’s still an entirely enjoyable movie to watch.
“Coming 2 America” feels like getting in touch with some old friends after a long time. It’s just fun spending time with these characters again. The lead characters and Zamunda itself is just how an audience remembers it, and it’s a good time seeing what they’re up to again and enjoying their antics.
From the barbershop segments to the banter between Semmi and Akeem, the “Coming 2 America” experience is one that’s lighthearted and delightful for fans. The film also has some humorous jabs at the first film.
In terms of what’s new here, Fowler is pretty good in the role of a character going through a fish out of water experience. However, he’s usually overshadowed by Jones, who brings a lot of comedic energy to the role of Mary.
Along with a lot of the cast returning to play good characters and some fun new additions, what helps “Coming 2 America” is also the fact that it’s quite funny. There are plenty of humorous moments throughout the sequel, making it worth a person’s time.
The creative crew of Murphy, Barry Blaustein, David Sheffield, Justin Kanew and Kenya Barris put together a fun and warm return to the world of Zamunda. Plus, while it captures the personalities from the first movie, this sequel is also quite accessible thanks to its modern humor, too.
It’s not an instant comedy classic, but fans of the first should find enjoyment here. And those who’ve never seen the original can make a fun double feature with both movies. 3.25 out of 5.