Last night I had the chance to see this movie with my family. I was, and still am, a fan of the original, so I was anxious to see the sequel.
That’s about the nicest thing I can say about this movie. It’s a beautiful steaming pile of nostalgic garbage. I’m sorry for the actors that had to endure such a lousy script and I am sad for the people of Africa and Queens (where I grew up and lived in the same areas where they were filming the first movie, and can say it’s fairly authentic for the comedic value). Both deserved better, American movie viewers deserved better.
Here is why I disliked the movie so much:
1. Prince Akeem is date raped and nobody finds this to be an issue 5 minutes after it’s revealed. Seriously, this is the same Hollywood that lambasted Bill Cosby for his drug using lifestyle with younger women. The same group of people that vilified Harvey Weinstein and accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Yet here they are making a joke, and a bad one at that, over date rape. Sorry Hollywood, you can’t cut it both ways. It’s garbage.
2. The bathers. Mind you, in the first one this was a running gag that made sense. In the second movie, with the Western raised Lisa, do we really believe that she’d be ok with Royal bathers naked in the tub with her husband? She complains about his sexual encounter that sired an heir (yet glosses over the rape itself) but doesn’t bat an eye for 30+ years of objectification and young hot sexual toys in her husband’s bath?
Then you have to wonder why Prince Akeem would still be ok with it. He is married now, lived a western life, and knows how his wife might feel about it. Plus he has three daughters. Would one really believe a grown man would be ok letting their children be washed by adults who are, by their very nature, sexualized beings and capable of violating their offspring? Reality says no, with the one caveat that women would not be entitled to male bathers, only men (as this would ensure royal legitimacy in the event of a pregnancy). I could believe in a nanny or au pair relationship with the girls, but I am 100% certain Princess Lisa would have eliminated this tradition in the first week of her marriage.
3. Princess Lisa is ok with a rival by the end of the movie. Sorry, not buying it. Yes the son is a bastard (so was William I), but regardless Zamunda is a male ordered society and even if he didn’t want the throne, politics would have caused a rift in the family and civil war would result. The male heir would be given more authority by the nation and taken more seriously as a leader. Eventually the Kingdom would become his, and his rapist mother would be given the role as a Royal too, tossing out Lisa and her progeny. There is no way this would work out well for the love story.
4. White supremacy in the Duke family. Horseshit. In the movie Trading Places this might make sense, but it’s 2020 and the sequel leaves out a very important point: the Duke Brothers were gifted another shot at striking it rich by a black man. They’re happy and grateful. I am sure that this wealthy family, humbled by their ignorance and poverty because of past rascism would have learned their lesson and been a better family for it.
They are capitalists and would seek talent and wealth wherever they could find it. A black man handing them a wad of dough was a symbolic gesture to say they have spent enough time paying for their rascism and deserve to come back into power, as they’ve learned their lesson. To think the child would be a racist after that is laughable. The forced effort to make them this ignorant was designed to make a Duke as the foil for the new Prince’s idea of being a self made man able to life himself up by his own bootstraps (also horsedookie, as he’s in his 30s living with his mama, broke, and selling tickets in the street while looking for a job, he’s a scrub).
5. McDowell’s. What claptrap. Notice how poorly this is executed. A burger restaurant in the middle of the Savannah, no roads or other buildings around. No sidewalks, no utilities, no customer base. They couldn’t even CGI a town near the eatery (let alone the palace, which would need a whole town near it to house the support staff and families and related industries, or at least a road).
Notice how the father, once very defensive and protective of his family, is reduced to an old wise Yoda figure. You’d think he would have issues with Akeems bastard son and whore mother, who represent a real threat to their well being and titles. Nope. Not one eyebrow raised.
6. General Izzy. OMFG. Are you kidding me? Granted Wesley Snipes made the scene funny, but the original General (whom I assume is Izzy’s dad) was a serious warrior whose soldiers would have had more discipline and at least matching uniforms and actual weapons. This General, mad at Prince Akeem for not marrying his sister, and not telling Akeem for 30+ years to stop hopping and barking, doesn’t go to war? After watching his sister get rejected for being a robot, why would he raise his daughter to do the same thing? It boggles the mind how badly it’s written.
In the first movie I thought the General was a military leader in Zamunda. Now he has his own dictatorship in the style of a Borat movie. He talks of weapons and grenades to children, has a wall of weapons to use and an army, yet goes to Zamunda with sticks to attack Akeems daughters?! Bullpoop. Added to that, the General and his men aren’t executed for attempting to kidnap, kill, or harm the Royal family?! Wtf? Zamunda at that point deserves to fall.
7. DNA Testing. Really, it’s 2021. Paternity tests have been around for decades now. You’d think that the Royal family of Zamunda or Prince Akeem and Semmi would have talked about this or mentioned it as the confirmation they needed to prove the child was actually his. Think about it, the mom even mentioned she was a whore who should have charged for what she gave away for free when she was younger. Red flag. Common sense dictates that normal people, let alone the Royal family of a nation would have the brains to do a DNA test, even if in secret, to ensure that they aren’t just giving their nation away to some unknown variable. Horrendous writing!
The plot: it’s a god awful attempt to film the exact same movie in 2021. The problem is that they literally had every saying the exact same things all over again. No character development, no real growth. It wasn’t funny. They would have been better just making a clips film like : ‘Coming to America reunion, 30 years later’ Where the actors could have just shown the clips and talked about the scenes. It would have been cheaper too.
Why didn’t General Izzy and Prince Akeem, knowing their history and how badly the arranged marriage failed, work together to create a situation where the new Prince would get to know the General’s daughter? She could have been written as a girl who liked him and wanted to marry him, but was unable to do so because of the rift. She then could have been written in as a servant/haircutter or something in disguise much like the original Prince Akeem. This at least would have had the feel of a Shakespearean tale.
Why the issue with hooking up with the General’s daughter anyway? He was clearly into her. They had some chemistry in the dance off music video portion of the movie. You’d think Prince Akeem, knowing how his history turned out, would have kept women away from his heir to prevent this issue, and put trusted men with his son to encourage his marriage to the General’s daughter, who he desired in the beginning. Or the General and Akeem would have at least pushed for more time alone for the two to know each other and discuss the need for her to have some opinions and topics of conversation.
On the whole, the movie and costumes were beautifully made. Yet that’s it. It was like a decorated Faberge egg. Beautiful on the outside but completely hollow on the inside, offering nothing to fill the soul or enjoy. No substance, no good jokes, no good acting (save the hairdresser female). It’s rife with feminism, rascism, poor plot, and shite overall)