Excellent 80's comedy, Eddie Murphy at his best as several characters in the movie, also Arsenio Hall puts in a stellar performance as more than one character. A rags to riches story in reverse with Eddie's quick hilarious responses and one liners. Eddie acts as Prince Akeem of Zamunda, not satisfied with being forced into marriage by his father King Joffi Jaffer played by the excellent JamesEarl Jones Prince Akeem wants to make his own choices with hilarious results.
Coming to America is directed by John Landis and adapted to screenplay by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein from a story originally created by Art Buchwald. It stars Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, JamesEarl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos. Music is scored by Nile Rodgers and cinematography by Sol Negrin and Woody Omens. Plot finds Murphy as Akeem Joffer, an African prince who comes to the United States in the hope of finding a good woman he can marry.
Released at a time when Eddie Murphy was ruling the 80s, Coming to America proves to be viable material for Murphy's talents. That's not to say it's a great film, a good one? Debatable now, and it was for sure a success at the box office, but it feels like a lazy excuse for some one liners and the picture hangs on a flimsy premise thread. As a whole it barely works as a romantic comedy (in fact the romance is distinctly tepid), but as a series of comedy set-ups for Murphy and Arsenio it does entertain the nostalgists and those who like immature gags. You do feel that with director Landis stating that Murphy was a pain on set-that Eddie had lost the zest and the willingness to learn that he had on Trading Places five years earlier, that Murphy didn't let Landis produce the picture the director originally envisaged.
No doubt about it, I liked the film much better back in the day, back then the fish out of water comedy hadn't been done to death, and of course Murphy was still coasting in on the wave of charismatic success, which to myself and many others was enough to warrant being in his company. However, watching it now it feels tired and weary, the one film in Murphy's 80s comedy output that doesn't hold up, a chore to get through at nearly two hours in length, many comedy sequences stretched too far (the multi character gimmick played by the leads runs out of steam), an indulgence to ride in on the appeal of the film's two stars. The film actually marks a turning point for Murphy, he would follow this film with eight years of cinema mediocrity, something which I do believe lends Murphy fans to praise Coming to America far higher than they should.
It's certainly not a stinker, not at all. There is occasionally fun to be had, some well written gags, honest intentions to create a charming characterisation for the people. While a cameo appearance by a future star is always worth watching. But in the minority as I am about it, and I do consider myself a Murphy fan, I have to say the film smacks of cheating and laziness, and no amount of penis gags can alter how I now feel about it. I'm off to cuddle my copies of Trading Places, 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop. 5/10
After several years of starring in rowdy action comedies and con man capers, Eddie Murphy gets a chance to deliver a more restrained performance with this film and he manages to do so very well. Murphy portrays Akeem, an African prince who is being pressured into a forced marriage by his parents (JamesEarl Jones, Madge Sinclair). The woman that they have chosen for him only sees him for his royalty and therefore does not really love him. Akeem sees this right away and brings his loyal servant, Semi (Arsenio Hall) along with him on a discreet mission to America where Akeem hopes to find a beautiful woman who will love him and accept him for who he really is and not just see him for his royalty. Posing as "common folk", Akeem and Semi get jobs at a McDonald's style restaurant and Akeem soon falls for the daughter (Shari Headley) of the restaurant's owner (John Amos). The film features many hilarious scenes and characters especially a group of boxing obsessed senior citizens who spend their days arguing with a barber shop owner. Murphy and Hall demonstrate their levels of versatility by managing to go under heavy makeup and portray several different costarring roles. Yet another example of why Murphy is one of the funniest actors in recent Hollywood history.