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Eddie Murphy’s smile and comic timing partly rescues ‘Coming 2 America’

Poster of 'Coming 2 America'

Eddie Murphy always draws audience with his endearing smile and comic timing. Yet, even his onscreen charms couldn’t make Craig Brewer directed Coming 2 America as good as the hugely popular first one, Coming To America. The latter made in 1988 garnered $288 million at the box office. The sequel was released on Amazon Prime recently.

Having sired three daughters, Prince Akeem (Murphy) from his wife Lisa (Shari Headley), he has no male heir to pass on the throne after his death. Akeem on his 30th marriage anniversary is summoned by his father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones), who is on the verge of dying to be informed that Akeem has a son. Baffled Akeem is sheepishly told by his best friend and aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall) that during their first visit to US, how one of the woman, whom he had enticed for a night, had drugged the Prince, and had sex with him.

Following his father’s death and accession to the throne, Akeem along with Semmi is forced to go in search of his son, as his country, Zamunda’s traditions don’t allow female successor to the throne.

It is from hereon, that audience expects a roller-coaster ride full of laughter. Alas! that doesn’t materialise, despite a few occasions, when there is a tinge of genuine humour.

Akeem locates his son Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler), and convinces him to come to Zamunda, with Lavelle insisting that he be accompanied by his mother Mary Junson (Leslie Jones). Their arrival creates a stir in the royal family, as Queen Lisa and her daughters are unable to reconcile to the new claimant to the throne. The most affected is the first born girl, Princess Meeka (Kiki Layne), who dreamt of becoming the queen, and worked hard for it!

The rest of the film, is about how Lavelle passes the test to prove his claim to the throne, while falling in love with his royal groomer Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha), to finally take a different trajectory, inspired by his father’s story of searching for true love.

Murphy carries whatever little there is in the film on his shoulders despite the fact that the story is wafer thin and the character sketch of other actors thinner! The jokes are all too familiar, hardly drawing laughter. It is only Murphy with his million dollar smile and timing makes it good. Rest of the cast just goes through their part in an auto mode devoid any feeling and nuances.

A seasoned actor like Wesley Snipes (Blade trilogy, Demolition Man, U.S. Marshals, etc) is too wasted as General Izzi leader of Nextdoria, who is eyeing taking over Zamunda. His comic villainy cuts no ice.

Interestingly, Murphy plays Randy Watson, a soul singer, Mr. Clarence, the local barber and Saul, a Jewish barbershop customer, while Hall too essays the role of Rev. Brown, Clarence’s right hand barber, Morris and the witch doctor, Baba.

Watch it if you are diehard Murphy fan or are inclined to kill a couple of hours, munching popcorn!

Keep you patient while viewing, since in the first 30 minutes, one is able to predict where the story is heading!