Once upon a time, Eddie Murphy was the king of the box office. His movies did well with audiences and critics. Sadly, those days seem to be long gone.
In 1988, Eddie Murphy entered the royalty/romance genre with Coming To America.
Prince Akeem (Murphy) is the heir to the throne of the fictional African kingdom of Zamunda. He is 21 and of an age to marry. The only problem is that his wife has been chosen for him, but Akeem is not thrilled with the idea of this marriage. Breaking tradition, he travels to New York with his loyal aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) to find a woman who would marry him for love, not because she has been chosen for him. Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley) works for her father at McDowell’s (not to be confused with McDonalds). She has a boyfriend, Darryl (Eriq La Salle), but is starting to spend her free time with Akeem, who has started working at McDowell’s. Akeem is trying to keep his real identity a secret, but that secret will not remain a secret for very long.
I like this movie. Breaking from the buddy cop movie genre that Murphy started in after he left Saturday Night Live, he plays Akeem with a combination of optimism and a sense of who he wants to be and who he wants to be with. The comedy in this movie comes from Hall and Murphy playing multiple characters, a feature that Murphy would later known for in movies like The Nutty Professor. The royalty/romance genre is still, even in 2015, for the most part white, it’s nice to see African and African American characters portrayed on screen as they are in this movie.
I recommend it.