So tonight the son agreed to join me for a viewing of “Coming 2 America,” the sequel to the all-time, all-time, all-fucking-time-of-times Eddie Murphy classic, “Coming to America.”
And, to be honest, my expectations were low. With rare exception (“Superman II” and “The Empire Strikes Back” being two that leap from the page), sequels tend to disappoint. They’re almost always reheated leftovers of an original thought gone stale. It’s generally a studio wanting to cash on in some early success. So the cast is returned, the hype is increased, the theatres (when there are theatres) are packed—and most everyone shuffles out with (at best) a big, “Meh.”
Which is, for “Coming 2 America,” the word of words: Meh.
The movie isn’t bad. And, if you have Amazon Prime, the price is right ($0.00). But … well … eh … there just isn’t much there. The story line of 2 is pretty much the story line of the original. The cast is largely the same. There are 800 cameos (from Morgan Freeman to Dikembe Mutombo to the three remaining members of En Vogue), but none feel particularly surprising or inspired. There are some sharp moments (the barber shop jokes are as on point now as they were three decades ago), but most of the comedic setups go pfft. I’d say, over the 110-minute running time, I laughed aloud five times. Maybe six. Which isn’t terrible. Just … meh.
Oftentimes, I groaned. Seeing Louie Anderson looking half dead. Seeing John Amos looking half dead. Seeing James Earl Jones looking half dead. Too much Leslie Jones doing Leslie Jones at nonstop 500 mph (and, for the record, I’m generally a fan).
By the end, I longed for the original.
I longed for originality.
PS: I actually thought the best parts of the movie generally involved Nomzamo Mbatha, an actress worth watching.