Arsenio Hall and Eddie Murphy star in Coming 2 America.
Photo: Quantrell D. Colbert / Paramount Pictures
Thirty-three years have passed since the launch of Coming to america It’s as old as Rihanna, Zac Efron, Blake Lively, and Kendrick Lamar, so making a sequel would seem like a complicated business, requiring a high-tension act to satisfy fans of the original while drawing younger viewers who might not know. the previous movie at all.
The creators of Coming 2 America try to do both simultaneously, inserting Lavelle’s new character, the “bastard prince” (Jermaine Fowler), to provide a protagonist under 30, as in “legacyquels” as Creed Y Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But returning screenwriters Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield (and new collaborators Kenya Barris and Justin Kanew) also go out of their way for superfans, filling the picture with not just flashbacks from the original, but copious callbacks to their fans as well. gags, bits that, as Bilge Ebiri puts it, “will literally make no sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the first movie recently.” So if you haven’t, here’s your cheat sheet.
Ebiri notes that “it doesn’t feel like the filmmakers wrote a new script but just… rewrote the old script,” and he’s not wrong; In terms of beat-by-beat replication, we’re getting into Hangover Part II territory here:
• The film begins again by pushing the iconic Paramount Mountain to reveal the African nation of Zamunda behind it, the camera sliding and rolling through the fields and valleys as we listen to a version of “Mbube”, the original version of “The Lion Sleeps” . Tonight.”
• We land at the Zamunda palace, where three rose bearers rush to tend to the royal offspring, but this time, instead of Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy), it is his three daughters.
• Then they rush to their parents, Akeem and Lisa (Shari Headley), to wish them a happy anniversary. “That is our anniversary, “he exclaims cheerfully, echoing his line from reading” It is my birthday ”in the opening of the original film.
• Soon after, Akeem engages in a spirited round of stick fighting, this time with his daughters instead of Semmi (Arsenio Hall).
• After Akeem (now King Akeem) and Semmi decide to travel to Queens, we hear the title song again while they fly, but sung by John Legend. (The legend reappears in the end credits to sing Oha’s 1988 hit, “She’s Your Queen.”)
• In one of the main structural deviations, the great number of songs and dances of the palace appear around 40 minutes instead of at the beginning. (Also, Paula Abdul didn’t choreograph this one.)
• But that sequence sets up the replica of the original film’s central romantic conflict: Like her father, Lavelle dodges a politically expedient arranged marriage with a neighboring princess to pursue her genuine attraction to a more “ordinary” girl, Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha ).
• And once again, the furious king follows his son back to Queens to track him down and stop this nonsense, but of course, when its The son explains that he has to follow his heart, he understands.
• The first movie ended with a memorable post-credits scene (pre-Marvel!) Of Saul (the elderly Jewish barbershop kibitzer, played by Murphy under layers of makeup) telling his favorite joke. So we also have a post-credits scene with Saul, along with Hall’s new supporting character Baba the Witch Doctor.
But they are not limited to copying the structure of the first film; Several lines of dialogue are repeated, often verbatim. This is:
• “Fight back, you sweat from a baboon’s balls”: Semmi said to Akeem in his sparring in the first movie, and to General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) during the big fight in this one.
• Izzi’s sister, Imani (Vanessa Bell Calloway) is still hopping on one leg and barking like a dog, as Akeem ordered her at the beginning of the first movie. And when his son meets General Izzi’s daughter (Teyana Taylor), they have the conversation that Akeem and Imani did: “What do you like?” “Whatever you want”, etc.
• When King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) arrives in Queens in the first film, Saul rubs his lion skin sash and exclaims, “This is beautiful, what is that, velvet?” The last line of Coming 2 America Saul asks Baba, from his robe, “Hey, what is this, velvet?”
Every now and then, however, writers go to the trouble of not just quoting themselves, but adding and / or winking their original ideas:
• When Akeem is told that her illegitimate child was conceived during her trip to Queens, she protests that this is impossible: “I did do not Sow my royal oats, ”he insists, referencing his father’s original and cheerful instructions for the trip.
• At the beginning of that conversation in the first movie, as he and his father take a walk, he greets a baby elephant with a warm “Hello, Babar.” In the new movie, he introduces his son to a great and majestic elephant as “Babar the Magnificent! I’ve known him since he was a little elephant. “(Since the original line was a nod to the children’s book series, this one feels like a hat on a hat.)
• In the first movie, Akeem takes a taxi and goes out into the street, raises his hand and orders, “STOP!” He tries the same trick here, but stops a rideshare driver, who explains that he has to call him through the app.
• At the end of the big stick fight, Akeem’s daughter Meeka (KiKi Layne) puts General Izzi on her back in exactly the same way her father cut Semmi, and director Craig Brewer even replicates the framing the action of original director John Landis.
• When Akeem and Semmi return to Queens, they are amazed at how much the gentrified neighborhood has been cleaned up, except for the intact MY-T-Sharp barbershop. And you can even see a Soul Glo poster in the background inside.
• The original film got a lot of comedic perks from Akeem’s employer, McDowell’s, which was completely different McDonald’s, according to its owner (John Amos). “They have the Big Mac, I have the Big Mick“He insisted.” We both have two patties with meat, salsa, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions. But they use a sesame seed bun, my buns have no seeds. ” In the new movie, with the opening of a McDowell’s franchise in Zamunda, he has more differences to explain. “They have Egg McMuffins … we have Egg McStuffins!” he says. “The McFlurbly is nothing like the McFlurry! We put the toppings at the bottom! “
• In a reference to that “seedless” line, when Akeem and Semmi first return to Queens, their limo is parked under a McDonald’s ad, “HOME OF THE REAL BIG MAC,” with an arrow pointing to a image of the hamburger and the legend, “with seeds”.
Coming to america it’s not the only movie frequently referenced in Coming 2 America. When The Lion King was released in 1994, it felt like his casting department was full of Coming to america fans; James Earl Jones not only provided the voice of King Mufasa, but Madge Sinclair, who co-starred as his Queen Aoleon in America, said Queen Sarabi of Mufasa. And then in Coming 2 America, Murphy & Co. returns the favor.
• During King Jaffe Joffer’s funeral celebration before death, a Morgan Freeman cameo refers to him (correctly!) As “the inspiration for Mufasa”.
• That presentation also includes a picture of a child held up, the key image of The Lion KingOpening scene and advertising campaign.
• One of the few new characters, the aforementioned Baba the Witch Doctor, looks awfully similar to The Lion Kingit’s Rafiki.
• When Akeem walks into the barbershop looking for his son, Clarence the barber (also Murphy) greets him cheerfully as “Mufasa!”
• And in a further nod to James Earl Jones’ extensive work, a promotional bumper for the Zamunda News Network features Jones singing, “This is ZNN,” just as he did for CNN for years.
• Coming to America in itself it featured a clever reference to an earlier film, a moment when Akeem hands over an envelope of money to a pair of homeless people sleeping under the Brooklyn Bridge. Those men are then revealed as Randolph and Mortimer Duke (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche), the wealthy, racist businessmen left homeless at the end of Murphy and Landis’ previous collaboration. Trade places. That donation apparently worked well for them; In the new movie, Lavelle applies for a job at the renovated Duke & Duke, interviewing Calvin Duke (Colin Jost), Randolph’s grandson.
• In the hilarious behind-the-scenes footage seen during the end credits, Jermaine Fowler sings songs, “I have the mustaches, they from a lion,” prompting Murphy to object, “That’s right. me Thing! “- as Fowler pays tribute to the song” We got some ice cream “by Eddie Murphy: Delusional.
• This one is a bit more of a stretch, but as Murphy sits on his throne in his royal garb, listening to a rendition of Prince’s “Gett Off,” this viewer suddenly remembered when he did the exact same thing with Purple. One’s old rival, Michael Jackson, in the video for “Remember the Time.”
• Few sequels have brought their original casts together as thoroughly as Coming 2 America; almost everyone is back except Eriq La Salle, Samuel L. Jackson, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Aside from Murphy, Hall, Headley, Amos, Calloway, and James Earl Jones, we have encores from Paul Bates, Clint Smith, Louie Anderson, and even Garcelle. Beauvais, promoted from “Rose Bearer” in the first film to “Rose Bearer Priestess” in this one.
• But it’s also kind of a continuation of Murphy’s last starring vehicle, Dolemite is my name, reuniting the star with the director of that movie (Brewer) and his co-star Snipes. And in that post-credits scene, Saul recites “Signifying Monkey,” one of Rudy Ray “Dolemite” Moore’s most famous routines.
• Y, ever since Murphy broke through Saturday night live, it’s a little SNL alumni show too, with supporting roles and cameos from Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan and Jost; Co-writers Blaustein and Sheffield also got their start on the show, writing sketches and stationery for Murphy before writing the scripts for Coming to America, Boomerang, The Nutty Professor, Y Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.
• When Lavelle is meeting Mirembe, the topic of the movies comes up. He mocks his love for American cinema: “What do we have besides superhero shit, remakes and old movie sequels that no one asked for?” And he agrees with the last point: “This is true about the aftermath. If something is good, why ruin it? Nothing like a movie that defends itself!
• Okay, maybe not funny, but it’s worth noting that the opening credits include the line “Based on Characters Created by Eddie Murphy”, but the ending credits include a “Special Thanks to the Art Buchwald property” and, well that’s another story.