Coming to America Review

Image for Coming to America

On his 21st birthday, Prince Akeem (Murphy) decides to leave the luxurious homestead in an unnamed-yet-poverty-free African country to find an American bride who will love him for himself and not his title.


John Landis directs Eddie Murphy again, with varying results. The premise is Eddie’s, his rich African prince travelling to the Big Apple to find a true queen and his own values amid the endless honking and fast food hell. Poor lad - his parents, until now, had virtually enslaved him in a world where voluptuous nymphs bathe the royal penis every morning, where rose petals precede every stride and where elephants serve as pets.

It’s not up to the society-swap standards of Trading Places (which is sharply referenced in one scene), perhaps because it’s scope is so large – every scene seems to look for a laugh as it holds up Akeem’s nobility (of character here, not of blood) against the treacheries of the New World.

Motormouth Murphy is, of course, perfectly cast as the prince (as well as hilariously-drawn minor roles), whilst Arsenio Hall does a superb job as his wing-man and James Earl Jones brings some meat to the jilted father role. These three rescue the plot from it's tiresomely predictable premises and help Landis turn out another guaranteed success.

Landis' latest keeps you laughing not with it's originality (of which there is little) but with it's confidence to out-joke it's predecessors on this much-trodden ground.