Coming 2 America: “Sequel to an old movie nobody asked for.”

That tagline is not mine; it’s a line uttered by one of the characters in the movie, during one of its many moments of self-awareness.

Coming 2 America isn’t so much a sequel, or a movie, for that matter, as it is a showcase for black talent, both old and new, and an embarrassingly high amount of “Remember this from the first movie? Well, here it is again, with absolutely no embellishments! Laugh, dammit!”

The showcase is more star-studded than the last twenty Tyler Perry films combined. I ain’t kidding–everybody is up in this piece. Except Tiffany Haddish, even though she was in some of the promo posters. Not sure what happened there. Anyway, it feels like the writers were instructed to come up with convoluted scenes to cram in celebs and up-and-comers, and worry about the story later.

Ahem. The “story.” Upon his father’s passing, Prince Akeem is now King Akeem of Zamunda, a vibraniumless fictional African nation. To help prevent war with the neighboring country Nexdoria (facepalm), a male heir must be found who can marry the Nexdorian general’s daughter, because even still, women are not allowed to rule because, tradition. Akeem must go back to Queens to find his bastard son because, tradition. Lavelle is resistant at first, then he isn’t, then he is again because, reasons? Never mind. Here’s another clip from the first movie.

The costumes are okay, with the possible exception of these Black Panther throwaways.

The “jokes.” Every single throwback joke can be seen coming from miles away. Miles. And, while there were quite a few times when I laughed out loud, most of the new humor elicited far more groans, coming off like material even BET sitcoms would’ve rejected. A scene of the Nexdorian soldiers training with Shake Weights (2009) and Dance Dance Revolution (1999) is either an attempt at some Airplane!/Naked Gun-type humor, or a commentary on how behind the times some African nations are. Either way, NOT. FUNNY.

This scene? Not in the film. Too bad, because women+guns=HAWT.

Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan show up to do their Leslie and Tracy schtick, and they hit all the appropriate and expected notes. If they’re your cup of tea, you’ll laugh. And, as film franchises like National Lampoon’s Vacation, Police Academy, and Revenge of The Nerds have shown, making toothless PG-13 sequels of R-rated comedy classics does everyone a disservice. Really, Hollywood. Stop it. Learn from Borat and Deadpool. Keep it R.

Coming 2 America might have been better received as some sort of made-for-TV reunion special with musical numbers and dance routines. I will admit though, Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes acted their butts off with this mediocre material. They simply must do more movies together. If you haven’t seen them in Dolemite is my Name (excellent movie; 5 out of 5 stars; it’s that good), watch it. Now. Jermaine Fowler is better in Sorry To Bother You. Actually, everybody’s better in everything else. Coming 2 America isn’t the worst movie ever, but it’s not good, either. More cringeworthy than actually funny. One and a half out of five stars.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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