Hit or Miss? The First Round of ‘Coming 2 America’ Reviews Are In

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a contributing writer at Okayplayer where he…
Coming 2 America
Photo Credit: Amazon Studios

Coming 2 America will arrive on Amazon Prime Video on Friday.

On Friday, Coming 2 America, the long-awaited sequel to Eddie Murphy’s 1988 film Coming to America will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Much of the original’s cast reprise their roles, this time around the film is directed by Craig Brewer, of Hustle & Flow fame. As screeners recently went out, the embargo was lifted Thursday and the first round of reviews came in. Here’s what critics think of the sequel.

Pete Hammond of Deadline was a fan, citing performances from Jermaine Fowler, Murphy’s daughter Bella, Wesley Snipes and a “riotous” Leslie Jones. “Ultimately this all belongs to Murphy and Hall,” he continued, “and it’s great to have them back in the royal court…this is a good time at the movies.”

Tessa Smith of Rotten Tomatoes agreed, citing the film’s dedication to recapturing the magic of the original. “I found myself cracking up a whole lot more than I expected to,” she tweeted. “Did we need this sequel? Probably not. But I sure am glad we got it! So much fun.”


Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter felt the movie was a bit too self-aware, likening the script’s deflection of critique to a blind date starting a conversation with self-deprecating jokes. A simple summary of his review: nostalgia has its limits. “Less a sequel than a remake,” he wrote, “featuring a younger actor going through the same narrative paces as Murphy in the original, Coming 2 America includes so many nods to its predecessor that it feels like a feature-length Easter Egg in search of a movie.”

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian echoed these sentiments, giving the movie two stars out of five. “The movie is as tired and middle-aged as Akeem himself,” he wrote. “The film itself has some pre-emptive dialogue between Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) and Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha) on the subject of whether sequels can ever work.”

 

“A complacent effort,” wrote Cassie Da Costa of Vanity Fair, “dressed up with confounding ornament—mediocre hip-hop musical numbers, anti-climactic action scenes, cliché-ridden class commentary, and a dash of girlboss feminism, Black Girls Rock edition.”

 


Matt Goldberg of Collider praised Brewer and Murphy’s previous work on Dolemite is My Name, but didn’t find that same chemistry in Coming 2 America. “With no strong characters and a muddled plot,” he writes, “it’s no surprise that most of the jokes in Coming 2 America fail to land. While obviously certain jokes that were deemed acceptable in 1988 would have a tougher time flying today, Coming 2 America’s solution seems to be nothing more than references to the original.”

Get your first look at the movie on Friday.

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