COMING 2 AMERICA: REVIEWING A FUN MOVIE – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I just read the review of “Coming 2 America” by Aisha Harris. Her review reminds me of why I despise critics. She slashes the script, the acting, and the sequel’s premise. I have to wonder why? Are movies no longer entertainment? Does everything have to be depressing, meaningful, and dark? I’m bringing my movie maven reputation to this one. I acknowledge films that skate by on gloss and production yet are still entertaining. I also give a thumb’s down to sequels that are needless remakes made only for the kachings.

I think “Coming 2 America” can stand on its legs because of its script.  The authors cleverly wove together parts from the original “Coming To America” to give coherence to the sequel. Murphy’s search for his own way despite family objections is updated with his son’s search for his own destiny now barred by Dad (Eddie Murphy). It’s a familiar story line, but it is relevant and should resonate with people who were young when the original came out and are now older and perhaps beginning to forget who they used to be.

Murphy and his creative people kept this evergreen romantic story line clean and clear. The son is fighting the same battles Dad fought. You don’t need any psycho babble sidebars for love stories.

I would like to school the critic, Ms. Harris with the old Hollywood rom-com movies people have been enjoying for decades. I’m a sucker for romance. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and in the end, boy gets and keeps girl. It’s not reality. It’s entertainment.  Eddie Murphy has tapped into the same romantic vein mined by the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Van Johnson, Robert Walker, Judy Garland, Robert Taylor, Norma Shearer and all the way back to Janette McDonald, Nelson Eddy and the silent film sweethearts, John Gilbert and Greta Garbo. The difference? The screen players are Black with a celebration of our ethnic nuances.

Eddie Murphy in “Coming 2 America.”

Ms. Harris knocks the movie for cultural gaffes, especially the way Murphy’s royal daughters are portrayed. I think clichés were avoided here. I loved it when the daughters were able to subdue Wesley Snipes and his villainous crew who saw them as easy prey. In a major production like this, there always will be missteps in certain character portrayals. The point is that Eddie Murphy obviously made an effort to embrace positive images for his prominent characters while allowing himself some fun with buffoonery in supporting players — like the barbershop crew and other neighborhood characters who offer sight gags that are usually funny. The nod and homage to “Trading Places” is a classic bit. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Wesley Snipes stars in COMING 2 AMERICA
Photo: Quantrell D. Colbert  © 2020 Paramount Pictures

Consider legendary directors like John Ford who often sank into broad ethinc (Irish) slapstick humor and you’ll see Eddie Murphy has charted a familiar movie path without coarse parody. I still can’t believe Murphy also was the old Jewish guy in the barbershop. The multiple roles played by Murphy and Arsenio Hall should be applauded for their versatility. They receive too little appreciation from the critic. Does she think they just come automatically with the stars?

I’ve probably spent too much time here but undeserved negative criticism can really hurt a film which deserves its chance with viewers. “Coming 2 America” isn’t a classic but it certainly is \highly entertaining. It’s a relief for me from the cloying, vague, and depressing vanity films that are being hawked this year, none of which I have any interest in watching. I’m sure all the fans of “American Beauty” will think I’m not an art of the film fella. Too bad.

See “Coming 2 America.”  I bet you’ll have a good time.



Categories: Entertainment, Garry Armstrong, Humor, Movie Review, Movies

Tags: , , , , , , ,

38 replies

  1. I recall the original so I am interested in seeing this one. Your review gives me encouragement that it is not just a sequel for the money. That’s why I did not hurry to see the latest Bill & Ted adventure all these years later, although it got some favorable comments.
    I watched the trailer which does not seem to be about letting you know the storyline as much as letting you see all the stars who appear in the film. I was a bit surprised to see so many well-known stars. I hope Wesley Snipes doesn’t forget to pay his income taxes for the money gets for this film.

    Like

  2. I rarely went to the movies before Covid anyway but I have Netflix and Amazon Prime so feel I am covered for movies. Most that I’ve seen ads for this past year have been way too grim to interest me anyway.

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  3. Thanks Garry. I saw a trailer for this. David and I loved the original film but I’m always a bit wary of sequels in case the producer didn’t get what the original film was meant to be about. I’ll give it a try at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It looks like a fun watch – thanks for your review

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very thoughtful review, Garry! I imagine you spent more time capturing this film fairly than the reviewer you mention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always wonder if the reviewer actually WATCHED the whole movie.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Possibly not, or did they get their ideas from another reviewer (who may not have watched the whole movie)!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Becky, I know some newbie critics would take their cue from the likes of Vincent Canby and other established NY film critics.

          Canby and his disciples really irritated me when they automatically dismissed westerns — including classics like “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” — as ‘mindless oaters’. I used to go mentally ballistic with college friends who got all snooty about foreign films and dismissed westerns. Really??

          Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder if some are writing their review during the movie screening.

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    • Becky, thanks. I’ve always tried to give movies objective viewing – even if they are not my personal cinematic cup of tea.

      I recall a college class “Art of the film” where they went overboard in dissecting films. I used to go head to head with the Prof who used to grimace when I offered my takes. Years later – my film Prof called me when I became established on Boston television. He essentially called to congratulate me on my success and say how proud he was of how I was doing. I couldn’t resist the moment. I reminded him of his scalpel job on “The Night of the Hunter”. A superb and underrated movie starring Robert Mitchum as a psycho killer masquerading as a country preacher. Our college class didn’t appreciate the film but young Garry, the budding movie maven, supported the film and it’s “novice” director, Charles Laughton.

      When I reminded my old Prof about how the movie had become something of a cult classic, he graciously admitted he’d been wrong about HIS original take. It was probably cheeky of me to hold a long grudge on one movie review but my prof’s take HAD left an impression on many of his students.

      During the day I spent with Robert Mitchum in the early 70’s, I told him my “Night of the Hunter” story. He just chuckled. Mitch said he got grief from some family and friends about that movie. Charles Laughton allegedly refused to pursue a directorial career because of some of the really savage reviews he received from his ONLY directing effort. Laughton used some nifty imagery in the film that escaped or confused some so called movie buffs/critics. It’s a shame Laughton, the accomplished actor allowed critics to intimidate his superb lone directing effort.

      As for Mitchum, he just said he regarded some critics like bad horse fertilizer. Good old Mitch. I loved the guy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember the original film and found it very amusing and now I have heard on my radio station that a second film has been made and I am looking forward to eventually seeing it. I need films today where I can relax and enjoy. I do not care what the critics say, I am my own critic and I am sure it will be fun. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We watched it last night.
    It’s true that most sequels fall short of their predecessors. This wasn’t as good as the first, but is was a welcoming bath in nostalgia for a bygone era of comedy!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks Garry for this review. I’ll sure catch it when it becomes available.

    Liked by 1 person

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