Eddie Murphy's 1988 vehicle Coming to America
was probably the point at which his status as a mainstream big-screen comedian finally gelled, following the highly successful 48 Hours
pairing with Nick Nolte. Never mind the hackneyed storyline: under John Landis's tight direction, he turns in a star performance (and several brilliant cameos) that is disciplined and extremely funny.
Murphy plays an African prince who comes to New York officially to sow his wild oats. Privately, he is seeking a bride he can marry for love rather than one chosen by his parents. With his companion (Arsenio Hall, who pushes Murphy all the way in the comedy stakes), he settles in the borough of Queens and takes a job in a hamburger joint. A succession of hilarious satire-barbed adventures ensue, plus the required romantic conclusion. The script is crammed with ripe one-liners , but "Freeze, you diseased rhinoceros pizzle" has to be the most devastating hold-up line of all time. Film buffs will appreciate a brief appearance by Don Ameche as a down-and-out, but this is Murphy's film and he generates warmth enough to convert the most ambivalent viewer.
On the DVD: The only--rather pointless--extra on offer is the original theatrical trailer which adds nothing apart from a rapid recap of the story. But the 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation (the picture quality is diamond sharp) and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack recreate the original authentic cinematic experience. The choreography of 1980s pop diva Paula Abdul in the lavish wedding scenes and Nile Rodgers' pounding musical score are the main beneficiaries. --Piers Ford
Hilarious comedy with Eddie Murphy as an African prince who travels with his loyal, royal companion to the United States to search f or a bride.