Amazon Prime Video premiered ‘Coming 2 America’ on March 5, 2021.
A feeling of trepidation followed the news of a sequel production of John Landis’ 1988 hit comedy, ‘Coming To America’ back in 2019.
33 years after its premiere in 1988, the comedy has maintained a class of its own hardly unrivalled for its Afrocentric representations and of course, its iconic love story.
Despite the uncertainties of sequels, my expectations rose for ‘Coming 2 America’. At the crux of the comedy scripted by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield is a strong feminist sentiment with bits and pieces from the original film intended to exploit audience nostalgia.
With Zamunda on the verge of attack from a neighbouring kingdom, Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) heeds his father’s dying wish to find a male heir to the throne.
Akeem shuns his capable daughter, Meeka (Kiki Layne) and returns to Queens in search of his long-lost son (Jermaine Fowler), conceived on a drunken night three decades ago.
As the plot unfolds, the audience is introduced to Fowler’s character, Lavelle Junson, an almost naïve young man who first struggles to come to terms with his new life. Amid this struggle enters Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha), the royal barber and the key to unravelling the story’s romantic twist.
Sadly, the new ‘Coming 2 America’ tries to juggle too much and lacks the pizzazz of its predecessor or a memorable story. Then there is the exasperating Hollywood designed African accent. Africa has an estimated 1500-2000 languages with millions of speakers. We do not all sound like ‘Black Panther’ cast.
Away from its erroneous accent and forgettable story, Coming 2 America‘s audience will stay glued for its nostalgic effect. There are a good number of tender-hearted and chuckle-worthy moments created as a nod to the original film. Take Bopoto’s (Teyana Taylor) ‘Anything you like’ lines to Prince Lavelle for instance.
Ruth E. Carter also makes a resounding statement on ‘Coming 2 America’ with striking costumes designed with African prints.
Understandably, sequels are not made to necessarily equal their originals but to at least try and with Amazon Prime’s ‘Coming 2 America’, the verdict is predictable by now- the original remains unbroken!