Coming to America
Release Year: 1988
Director: John Landis
Writers: David Sheffield (screenplay), Barry W. Blaustein (screenplay), Eddie Murphy (story)
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Sharu Headley, John Amos, James Earl Jones, Eriq La Salle, Allison Dean, Madge Sinclair, Paul Bates
Rating: Nominated for 2 Oscars: Best Costume Design, Best Makeup.
The extremely pampered African prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) convinces his parent to let him go to America with his companion Semmi (Arsenio Hall). He ends up in Queens where he poses as a poor exchange student and finds work at the local fastfood restaurant and fall for the daughter of its snobbish owner.
When thinking of 1980s comedies, two names spring readily to mind: John Landis (The Blues Brothers (1980), Trading Places (1983)) and Eddie Murphy (48 Hours (1982), Beverly Hills Cobs (1984)) and Coming to America is one of the career highpoints for both. The story is a cute twist on the classic story of a prince posing as a pauper in order to find a bride who loves him for who he is. Both Murphy and Hall (Black Dynamite, 2009) are very funny and give charming and energetic performances. They also both explore the art of playing several characters with the help of heavy makeup, most notable in a barber shop and while these scenes do not do anything to enhance the main plot they are very entertaining. The supporting cast is excellent as well, especially John Amos (Die Hard 2, 1990) as the potential father-in-law and James Earl Jones (Conan the Barbarian, 1982) as Akeem’s traditionally minded father. Heavily steeped in a 1980s fee that only adds to its charms this is probably one of Eddie Murphy’s best comedies and a very good rom-com with a strong lovestory at the same time. Highly recommended if you like Eddie Murphy’s brand of humour.
Coming to America was the first time Eddie Murphy played multible characters in the same movie, something that would later become one of his trademarks.
Picture Copyright: UIP