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If the pandemic has done anything, it has saved some movies the opportunity to bomb at the box office.  While I'm not sure what box office expectations would have been, a sequel to one of the best comedies of the 80s works draw interest from some of us "getting old" fogies. 

I'll admit i was always skeptical about the premise of Akeem having an illegitimate child as it was in no way past of his character. That part is explained away in a hokie manner that you forget about. It plays the hits so to speak. Almost all the major characters from the first movie make an appearance save a couple. Honestly how Sam Jackson didn't worm his way into this one is beyond surprising. The new cast is alright. I loved Jermaine Fowler in Superior Doughnuts, but that for cancelled. He masks being Akeem's bastard son work. 

Overall the movie is okay once you get past the fact that they relied to much on nostalgia and not the story they tried to tell. As thin as it was it was touching in a way. 

If you ever wondered, it is blue confirmed that Coming to America and Trading Places do exist in the same universe. What was a throw away gag in the first movie was played into a whole scene in this one. Maybe we can how for a Trading Places 2? Maybe we should leave will enough alone.

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I thought it was cute— but a family comedy with a few blue jokes as a sequel to an 80s Eddie Murphy movie doesn’t feel quite right.

 

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I thought about ten things while watching the movie and bothered to write 'em down, moment by moment. Here they are :

1) CGI deepfake'd Eddie Murphy face is terrifying but Eddie Murphy in layer upon layer of make-up and prosthetics is a comforting sight so I guess it all balances out in the end.

 

2) I don't understand how the script can go for every obvious joke in the book, every piece of low hanging fruit on the branch, but studiously avoid the obvious "I sent her an electronic mail detailing the situation yet received no reply!".

 

3) But if the Duke Brothers from Trading Places (1983) are shown to be destitute in Coming To America (1988) then how can their business be thriving in 2019 or whenever this is supposed to be taking place? Plot hole! Plot hole in the impossibly broad farcical sequel to an equally broad original which was nonetheless emotionally grounded! (I guess in order to perfect that sort of balancing act you gotta be the kind of guy who is willing to kill a bunch of kids and Jennifer Jason Leigh's dad. You gotta have that steel in your spine to ride the line.)

 

4) The original made really good use of the f-word for comedic purposes. Very few f-words this time around! Needed more f-words!

 

5) For the big 40th anniversary show they did for SNL Eddie Murphy came out and gave one of the li'l speeches. He basically treated it as a tribute to him, to the work he'd done, and he gave thanks to the audience for caring about it all those years later. That was maybe egotistical of him but it's ... kind of justified!??? He really did save that show. He really did have the sort of lifechanging worldchanging superstar career on the back of what he did for SNL that every single cast member has been chasing since then. He really is Eddie Murphy, no one else has been Eddie Murphy since then, and he's arguably the reason everyone who wants to be Eddie Murphy even has a career. He's a genuine once in a century person, someone of such talent and skill that it has never been exceeded or even matched, and it's almost impossible to imagine the shape of modern American entertainment without him. (He's also a complete loon.)

 

6) Look, I thought the dance sequences were great. But did Doctor Crusher do them!? Nope! (Wait, I thought Gates McFadden was credited w/choreographing the dance sequences in the original. Was that just Labyrinth and Muppets Take Manhattan?) (Hah! Okay! It was Paula Abdul! I knew it was somebody!)

 

7) "This is true about sequels. If something is good, why ruin it?" Why must they do this every time? Why must every movie metabolize the process of its own creation? Why can't the assumed criticism be left outside of itself? It doesn't help the movie to have someone in the movie say out loud the obvious thought that would come to those charged with the movie's creation and it doesn't help the movie to have someone in the movie say out loud the obvious thought that would come to the audience. Shut up! Shut up and be the movie!

 

8) The above conversation is where I got scared (or interested? I don't know, it'd be a neat twist on the formula) that they were going to swerve and set up this love interest character as a lesbian — she's a big Queen Latifah fan, look at what she does for a living, she starts to talk about how there are certain freedoms outside Zamunda — but then it became clear she was talking about her right to own a business and then they made out so I guess it'll be fine (or bad!? would the movie have been better if it had realized that placing so much emphasis on who you choose to be with as determining the shape of your future, your family's future, your country's future, is kind of a ridiculous and outmoded idea? would it be colouring too much outside the lines to suggest that people have worth and value in and of themselves outside the formal bonds of relationships? if this movie takes place now shouldn't it take place now, I guess? I don't really know.)

 

9) "What happened to you, Akim? You were supposed to change things. You were supposed to bring this kingdom to the 21st century. But instead you push our daughter aside, someone who has dedicated her life to this country, and because she's a woman she can't be your heir?" In this essay, I will examine how Coming 2 America (2021) is a parable about the legitimacy crisis of post-Obama America and how his failure to successfully pass on power to Hillary determines the shape of our present etc.

 

10) wait, no joke about Lavelle having to give Wesley Snipes' daughter permission to move BUT there is a joke about the woman Akim told to bark like a dog being freed of her curse years later!? What this movie chose to set up and pay off doesn't make a whole lotta sense to me, in general.

 

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Experienced stock market bulls with 30+ years to make a come back? I'd buy that.

But yeah. the STAY RIGHT HERE bit totally got me. I feel like there has to be a pay off to that set up that got cut for time or something.

There were lots of chuckles along the way, but to be honest the only legit LOL moments for me were all from Leslie Jones. Eddie Murphy is unfortunately one of those people who got so rich and famous that he was able to completely isolate himself from the world. It's like Michael Jackson, or Vince McMahon, or Elton John... it's this type of star that made their mark by being over the top and yet totally human and charismatic at the same time-- and now they've lost touch with normal human interaction.

Eddie seemed like he was just reading lines. His only funny bits was when he was doing his barber and old Jewish man characters-- but that's also the sort of thing his comedy drifted to in later years-- doing voices and characters instead of being funny as himself. 

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I think it's funny that there were stories about Murphy not wanting Michael B Jordan playing his son because he thought the focus should be on him. Fair enough. After watching the movie though, i came away with the feeling that the movie should have focused on Jermaine Fowler. 

 

Wesley Snipes was great in a limited role. He's funny the whole time even when he's saying I'll assassinate you if you don't have someone marry one of my kids. 

 

 

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Another thing that got me, and only me, I am probably the only person in the world that cares about this, in a tizzy was the idea of there being multiple ontological Eddie Murphies (Eddies Murphy???) in a single fictional realm. I know that it's an established element of things that him and Arsenio are dressed up as different people but I assume the makebelieve people in the movie see the different people as even more different than they are. (I do not know why I assume this to be true.) But both his character Billy Ray Valentine and his character Akeem Joffer are Eddie Murphy. I understand that this does not matter in the slightest; I'm probably doing a bad job of explaining it. But it's the sort of thing that trips me up all the time w/movies. (The movie even kind of compounds the problem when it shows us paintings of Zamundan ancestors of their royal bloodline and one of them looks exactly like Eddie Murphy and everyone explicitly acknowledges that, yes, that guy looks just like him.)

On 3/5/2021 at 6:25 PM, Metropolis said:

To your third bullet point, the throw away scene where Akeem gives the Dukes the bag of cash is the reason. Randolph yells "We're Back!" So it's possible. 

I have zero memory of this! I shoud probably watch the original again.

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I kinda get it. Like In the MCU where Peter Parker references Star Wars, but doesn’t mentioned how much Nick Fury looks and sounds like Mace Windu.

Or the part in Tango and Cash where Tango says “Rambo’s a pussy.”

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We watched the first one the Sunday evening before last as a refresher and then the new one this Sunday just gone.

Obviously not going to win any awards but it was good fun seeing all the old characters and you get the feeling they had a good laugh making it. 

Nice easy watch to end the weekend.

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19 hours ago, Tank said:

I kinda get it. Like In the MCU where Peter Parker references Star Wars, but doesn’t mentioned how much Nick Fury looks and sounds like Mace Windu.

Or the part in Tango and Cash where Tango says “Rambo’s a pussy.”

That sort of thing does bother me all the time, yeah, but what I'm describing here is a feeling of discomfort that I'd estimate at a higher level of magnitude. I think it's something v. specific to Eddie Murphy; even more specifically to undisguised Eddie Murphy. How!? How this be?

 

It's not like I'm worried about Trading Places II (2022) or whatever. I don't think this is the start of the Eddie Murphy Cinematic Universe. I listened to his Marc Maron interview (surprisingly little evidence offered for my 'he's a complete loon' clinical diagnosis in that'n; outside of the revelation that he personally managed to cure his father's alcoholism through his own sheer power he mostly comes off as kind of a regular guy, a regular guy who just happens to be supremely able to mimic, like, Fred Stoller at the drop of a hat but a regular guy nonetheless) and he said that (I'm paraphrasing here) that the plan was to do the Dolemite movie as a 'one for me', the Coming To America sequel as a 'one for them', and then to launch back into stand-up. But the pandemic messed up all that so now he doesn't know what he's going to do but he seemed fairly adamant he wasn't going to do the stuff he used to be doing. I don't know what I'm saying. I guess it's something like : Eddie Murphy did not come across in that interview I listened to like he's going to be making Coming 3 America (2023) or whatever, my discomfort at what I was seeing wasn't about the prospect of 'how will this possibility be resolved?' it was just about the phenomenon as it is.

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