_**Fun reunion, but pales in comparison to the first movie**_
Three decades after the original film, Akeem (Eddie Murphy) discovers that he needs to go back to America with Semmi (Arsenio Hall). The principal cast members return with some new characters played by Jermaine Fowler, Tracy Morgan, Nomzamo Mbatha and KiKi Layne.
“Coming 2 America” (2021) is nowhere near as good as the first movie (which is probably my all-time favorite comedy), but it is fun to see where the characters are at after over thirty years, not to mention what they look like.
There are four things that hold the flick back: It seems like it’s in a hurry, peppered with music videos, not to mention it’s noticeably goofier than the original. It’s afraid to slow down for some compelling or heartwarming drama. When they do, like with Lavelle (Jermaine) and Mirembe (Nomzamo), it works and you start get drawn into the characters, but then it cuts to another crazed scene.
Secondly, Akeem isn’t as likable or funny here, whether that’s because of Eddie’s low-energy, mediocre writing or simply Akeem being stifled by tradition, I don’t know; probably a combination. Thirdly, the trip to New York City comes and goes so this isn’t really much of a Coming to America 2. The focus is on Zamunda, which is fine, but the story needed more interesting ideas and writing.
Lastly, I liked Jermaine Fowler as Lavelle Junson; he has charisma, but he pales in comparison to Murphy as Akeem in the first movie. The creators needed to spend more time fleshing out the potential of Jermaine and his character.
Despite these shortcomings, “Coming 2 America” is still worth catching if you’re a fan of the original flick. It’s great to see all the old characters and there are some amusing and entertaining moments; for instance, the early bit with Bopoto (Teyana Taylor), which made me bust out laughing.
The film runs 1 hour, 48 minutes, and was shot in Atlanta, Georgia, and New York City.