Thanks to a slew of streaming services and video-on-demand releases, some major blockbusters have been able to make their way to audiences even amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of the latest to do so will be Coming 2 America, the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 Eddie Murphy-led classic. The film is expected to debut on Amazon Prime this weekend after quite a lot of fanfare and anticipation -- and on Thursday, critics were able to share their first reviews to it. At the time of this writing, Coming 2 America's critical response has been mixed at best, with the film holding a 51% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
So, what exactly are critics saying about Coming 2 America? Keep scrolling to find out, and share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Brian Truitt, USA Today
"Amid all the fresh faces (including Tracy Morgan as Lavelle’s Uncle Reem, plus a load of cameos) and returning characters (John Amos and Louie Anderson now head up the Zamundan locale of their McDonald’s ripoff, McDowell’s), the most interesting personalities who get short-shifted are Akeem’s daughters, warrior Meeka (KiKi Layne), brainy Omma (Murphy’s real-life daughter Bella) and spunky Tinashe (Akiley Love). “Coming 2 America” easily could have been a really neat father-daughter tale – and one celebrating young Black women – yet filmmakers instead chose the rehashed route already traveled. (At least all the Zamundans look great, thanks to Oscar-winning "Black Panther" costume designer Ruth E. Carter.)"prevnext
Peter Debruge, Variety
"...The world has changed a great deal since Akeem first came to America, but as far as Amazon Studios’ 21st-century sequel is concerned, Zamunda has remained more or less frozen in time — to the extent that half the jokes are simply repeats of beloved gags from the original film. That’s by far the easiest path that Murphy and company could have taken with “Coming 2 America,” and while fans may appreciate that director Craig Brewer (“Dolemite Is My Name”) hasn’t messed with the formula, the movie feels downright lazy on the heels of, say, the take-no-prisoners satire of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” which Amazon released last year."prevnext
K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone
"Coming 2 America is technically a sequel, not a remake, but in the spirit of both the remakes and sequels we’ve been bombarded with of late, it may be wisest to consider it an update: a gentle massaging of the Eighties humor, which nowadays may feel a little out of date, maybe even cringe. The script is credited to Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield, and bears Barris’ fingerprints most of all, down to a sneaky nod to Barbershop, his breakout writing credit. Coming 2 America takes a little after the moralizing familiar to his other work and isn’t necessarily more interesting for it, only more modern.
But keeping up with the times isn’t a bad thing. Without touting itself as a band-aid, Coming 2 America offers splashes of self-aware corrective. It was a bit fucked (and also funny; comedy is a treacherous animal) for the original movie to reduce Prince Hakeem’s intended, Imani (Vanessa Bell Calloway), to a barking nobody back in 1988. The new movie provides an answer to this. On the other hand, the fact that Hakeem went to Queens to find his queen — the fact that he wanted a wife with a mind of her own — was also the point, as the new movie very well knows and comfortably rehashes."prevnext
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
"Like a blind date who starts off the evening by making a self-deprecating joke, the sequel to Eddie Murphy's smash hit 1988 comedy Coming to America takes pains to deflect the most obvious criticism that might come its way.
"American cinema is the best," a character declares at one point in the unimaginatively titled Coming 2 America. "The best?" another responds skeptically. "What do we have besides superhero shit, remakes and sequels to old movies nobody asked for?"
Of course, that assessment won't stop millions of viewers from tuning in to this long-belated follow-up premiering on Amazon Prime Video. Shifted to the streaming service after its planned theatrical run was cancelled due to the pandemic, the film will easily capitalize on the lingering nostalgic affection for one of Murphy's most successful efforts, even if the original isn't nearly as funny as you might remember."prevnext
Kristen Baldwin, Entertainment Weekly
"The script is a little drag-and-drop at times, echoing story points and dialogue from the original too closely. Comedian and writer Fowler has sufficient charm, but a romantic subplot between Lavelle and a royal groomer named Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha) feels rushed and perfunctory. Still, the inevitable third-act wobbliness gives way to a boisterous final blowout that will leave fans giddy. Will Coming 2 America have the legacy of the first film? Probably not. But unlike tying one's own shoes, it is not an overrated experience."prevnext
Whelan Barzey, Empire
"It’s a colourful, likeable re-spinning, replete with big dance sequences (one bizarrely to Prince’s 1991 banger ‘Gett Off’), a string of cameos, obvious messaging (walk your own path, kids) and gentle skewering of the Black experience, from gentrification to eschewing ideas around primitivism. Story-wise, there’s a lot going on here and the downside is that Murphy often gets sidelined in his own movie — also, while the character no longer has the winning innocence and naivety of a younger man, it never really finds new dimensions to replace these qualities. Still, Fowler scores as the man who would be prince, etching a heartfelt relationship with Teyana Taylor’s royal groomer Bopoto. At one point, talking about movie sequels, they question, “If something is good, why ruin it?” It’s a meta, bold and possibly foolhardy nod, but Coming 2 America just about gets away with it."prevnext
Matt Goldberg, Collider
"One of the chief problems with Coming 2 America is that it doesn’t even know who its protagonist should be. The film starts out from the perspective of Akeem as he tries to rule Zamunda and find a way forward, but once Lavelle enters the picture, the focus shifts to him and we pretty much leave Akeem behind until the third act when he realizes that he could have been a better leader and must work to accept change, a bizarre arc for a character whose original journey was about breaking with the tradition of an arranged marriage.
When you don’t even have a clear protagonist, it’s hard to map out a journey for either character. Because the film starts out as Akeem’s journey, we don’t really get to know Lavelle that well beyond him being an enterprising young man who wants a better life for himself and his family. But the idea of bringing America (as represented by Lavelle) to Zamunda never works in the same “fish-out-of-water” plot as the original because Zamunda is never particularly well-defined. The film is constantly working in broad strokes as opposed to the original, which is at its core a sweet love story about a prince pretending to be a pauper so that a woman will love him for who he is."prevnext
Shannon Miller, The AV Club
"A supporting cameo from Garcelle Beauvais tips Brewer, Blaustein, and Sheffield’s hands early on when she is returned to her previously limited (and totally silent) capacity as a servant of the court, despite having maintained a much more elevated portfolio of credits over the years. It’s endemic of a movie that illustrates a general lack of respect for the women that occupy this franchise universe, many played by actresses who have been staples of Black entertainment for decades. The film’s most egregious missteps are made at the expense of Vanessa Bell Calloway, reduced to a humiliating, literally barking madwoman for no reason beyond a half-assed reference, and Jones, who is at least allowed her share of funny lines—modest recompense for being repeatedly compared to a beast for laughs. At least she appears to be having more fun than most of the rest of the cast.0comments
To her credit, Jones might have the right idea here. With a premise that feels like such a step backwards for the young prince who was once inspired to follow his own path, this weak retread leaves viewers clinging to a few fun moments scattered throughout. For a film with a plot that ironically revolves around Akeem’s son learning to find his own unique route to greatness, Coming 2 America—with its endless callbacks and Easter eggs—seems all too ready to rely on nostalgia. It’s clearly meant to function as a celebration of the original film’s enduring legacy. Fans should just watch that movie again instead."prev