Sequel holds up despite decades between films

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Some 30 years after the original “Coming to America” movie, Eddie Murphy and his pals are back to make a sequel and they seem to be having fun with it.

“Coming 2 America” is not as clever as its title, but it’s still a pretty fun time. Eddie Murphy is enjoying a bit of a comeback, and both he and the returning Arsenio Hall are at ease on screen. The movie is mildly funny and toothless, with some pretty nice production values. If you were a fan of the first one back in the day, this sequel should also delight.

“Coming 2 America” is available to stream on Amazon Prime. Seems like a safe place for it.

Set 30 years after the first movie, Murphy’s Prince Akeem is now king of the African nation Zamunda — but he only has daughters. The royal rules demand a male heir, and not having one makes him appear weak to a neighboring warlord. Fortunately, King Akeem learns he has a long lost son, born out of wedlock, still living in Queens.

“Coming 2 America” is a generally fun and harmless film that at least does a little bit more than just recreating the first movie. Now, instead of an African prince being a fish out of water in New York City, it’s a kid from Queens being a fish out of water in an African kingdom. But really, the movie is just a chance for Murphy and Hall to be funny on screen.

Both classic comedians put on all manner of elaborate makeup to play multiple characters in the movie, most of whom are returning characters from the first film. It looks like the actors are having fun. I hope they are, otherwise what was the point?

The various stories feel a bit rushed at times. The new prince, played by Jermaine Fowler, is perfectly fine in his role, but he definitely lacks the natural charisma of Murphy and Hall. So his storyline is slightly less fun. And I, personally, would have liked to spend more time getting to know the new love interest and King Akeem’s three daughters. Their storylines felt underdeveloped.

“Coming 2 America” went all out with production design. The African-themed costuming is gorgeous. And the neighboring warlord, played by Wesley Snipes, makes sure all of his soldiers are highly trained hip hop dancers. Their scenes were especially fun.

Making sequels decades later with the same cast is a popular trend in Hollywood, and at least with “Coming 2 America,” they did an OK job with it.

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