Coming 2 America is an enjoyable watch, but it skips the opportunities for to address more solemn themes.
Coming 2 America Synopsis
In the face of his father’s imminent passing and military threat from neighbouring Nexdori, a frightening secret is revealed to Akeem. Not only is Lisa McDowell not Akeem’s only woman, a drunken tryst arranged by Semmi 30 year ago resulted in a son. Worse, with no other sons who could be his legal heir under Zamunda law, Akeem has no choice but to return to America to retrieve his boy. Needless to say, Lavelle i.e Akeem’s streetwise illegitimate son is hardly ready to embrace the restrictions that come with being an African prince.
If memory serves me right, I watched Coming to America with my parents at a cinema in Bedok Central. (Probably the now-demolished Changi Cinema)
It was a Saturday family excursion; one that I much looked forward to. In the end, we couldn’t get great seats, though. Can’t exactly remember but it was something like the sixth or seventh row from the front.
As for the show, well, I enjoyed the raucous nonsense. The glitzy comedy was also my first proper cinematic introduction to Afro-American talk and humour. Funny thing though, I never once searched for clips of Coming to America in today’s age of YouTube. I guess as much as I enjoyed the gags back then, they feel terribly outdated in this age. On top of being racially questionable.
Mentioning the above for my viewing experience of Coming 2 America was curiously similar. Now, I must highlight that I haven’t been feeling well since last week so I didn’t watch this sequel on Amazon Prime under the best of conditions. But even had I been well, I doubt I’d have enjoyed the show more. Guffawed several times as I did, most humorous scenes just lacked any real impact. I don’t think I’d remember any after a few months.
Have to say, I felt most laughs depended on nostalgia too. You wouldn’t find them funny without watching the first movie. I wasn’t impressed by this.
As for the story, hmm, I guess the premise is a sensible and logical continuation, as far as a cinematic sequel is concerned. That said, it’s starkly obvious that nothing was intended to venture beyond skin deep. Themes of patriarchal injustice and cultural/generation conflicts are but meant as embellishments.
Here’s also a question I thought about after watching. Would a longer run, with fewer gags and more of Meeka’s frustrations, or Akeem’s kingly dilemmas, etc, make for a more memorable show?
I think it would. It would be a less funny show for sure, but it would be a more meaningful sequel too. Regrettably, the producers were not interested in this direction.
Incidentally, although I wouldn’t be able to name any beforehand, all clips from the ’88 hit that were incorporated into this sequel immediately triggered my memory. I guess the first movie left a deeper impact on me than I realized, or care to admit.
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