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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

All good fun!

Author: Kristine ( from Chicago, Illinois
22 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What haven't I heard about Coming to America, a lot of people in my life have always brought up this movie and rubbed it in my face how they have one movie they could stump me with. What can I say? I had to rent it and see it for myself, after all, this was the decade where Eddie was king of comedy. I have to say that my friends were right this was just a really funny and enjoyable movie. We have Eddie as the lead and John Landis directing, there is no wrong. Well, that's wrong of me to say, just love these two guys. But is the movie as good as everyone says it is? I did laugh and have a good time, this was something original for it's time and just had a good time entertaining the audience.

Akeem Joffer, the prince and heir to the throne of the African country Zamunda, is discontented with being pampered all his life. The final straw is when his parents present him with a bride-to-be he has never met before, trained to obey mindlessly his every command. Akeem concocts a plan to travel to America to find a wife he can both love and respect. He and his servant & friend Semmi arrive in Queens , New York, and after several scrapes, find an apartment. They begin working at a local restaurant called McDowell's passing themselves off as students. Akeem falls in love with Lisa, Mr. McDowell's daughter, who possesses the qualities the prince is looking for. The rest of the film centers on Akeem's attempts to win Lisa's hand in marriage, while adjusting to life in America and dodging his royal duties and prerogatives.

I know everyone loves the line "the royal penis is clean" but my favorite that had me on the floor is when Prince Akeem has moved to Queens and he's all excited, goes outside to scream good morning to everyone and some guy says "F you!" and the Prince doesn't realize that it's actually an insult and screams "Yes! Yes! F you too!". Trading Places is one of my favorite comedies of all time and I loved that John Landis included the Duke brothers joke into the movie, I nearly died laughing, but there is a flaw in that joke. Unfortunately for those who hadn't seen the movie would not get that joke and John should have taken that into consideration. But I really did enjoy this film, I'm really glad that my friends wouldn't stop teasing me that drove me to see Coming to America, this is the Eddie Murphy that I will always be happy to watch.


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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of Eddie's Biggest Hits (Overrated in My Opinion)...

Author: Isaac5855 from United States
3 April 2007

Eddie Murphy had one of his biggest hits with COMING TO America, an expensive and somewhat entertaining comedy which found Eddie playing the crown prince of a fictional African country who travels to Queens, New York to find himself a wife after deciding that he's tired of being waited on hand and foot and not thrilled about having no say in the wife that has been selected for him. Eddie's Prince Akeem and his manservant Semi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in Queens, pretending to be broke and get jobs at a fast food restaurant where Akeem falls for the owner's daughter (Shari Headley). This film is lavishly produced and well cast (James Earl Jones and the late Madge Sinclair are perfect as Akeem's parents, the King and Queen)but there's a certain emptiness about the whole thing that doesn't sustain a film of such length and expense. Murphy is charming as Prince Akeem and he also gets to shine in one fabulous scene in a barbershop where he and Hall play everyone in the scene, but the film does not sustain interest until the end. Eddie later became involved in a lawsuit that claimed he stole the idea of the film from someone else which also casts a pall over the film which makes it hard to view all these years later, but it was one of Eddie's biggest hits and for his hardcore fans, there are laughs to be found, but personally, I think Eddie has done better work (BOOMERANG, THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, BOWFINGER, DREAMGIRLS), but judge for yourself.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Eddie Murphy's best.

Author: Jerry Jones from USA
4 August 2002


Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headly, and James Earl Jones.

Eddie murphy has made many great movies, like the Beverly Hills Cops series and the Nutty Professor duo. But Coming to America is, by far, his best. Murphy portrays an African Prince who visits Queens to find his soulmate. If he does not, he must marry a woman he does not love. He also plays a barber, a singer, and a few more. Arsenio hall is his sidekick, Semmi. He delivers as much laughs as Murphy. Headly plays Murphy's soulmate who loves Murphy for who he is, not what he does (something Murphy lied about.) James Earl Jones is Murphy's father who does not care what Murphy thinks and is a little perverted at times. Overall, this is my favorite movie of all time.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Eddie and Arsenio at their best!!!

Author: CityGrl ( from East Coast
6 August 1999

I've seen this movie 7 or 8 times and it still cracks me up. This is my favorite comedy of all time. All of the characters were funny, but I actually ached from laughter in scenes with Arsenio's preacher and in the Barber shop. That alone would be enough, but there's more. James from Good Times - John Amos and Mister Soul Glow himself - Eric LaSalle put in excellent performances as well. Unfortunately, the critics and The Academy didn't think much of this film. I guess the ultra-rich African theme didn't appeal to some. The fact this movie plays regularly on syndicated TV over 10 years later proves this film is a classic. This film is a must see again and again and again. Each time you'll catch things you missed the previous time; much like the Nutty Professor. This film was so hilarious that I didn't just want to live in Zamunda, I was ready to move to Queens (If Akeem and Semi were really there, of course).

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Does enough with its humour and its sweet narrative but do not expect anything more than mere good fun.

Author: johnnyboyz from Hampshire, England
24 April 2008

How much do we know about Africa? How much do filmmakers know about Africa? Recent films like Blood Diamond and Sahara with their ideas that Africa is either one large desert with corrupt officials poisoning water supplies or either a series of villages getting liquidised and a massive slave trade as they work for their lives uncovering diamonds are the sorts that would probably do enough to discourage you from ever going. Then you have African films and films made by recently deceased director Ousmane Sembene, who set his last film Moolaadé in an actual village; away from disease, liquidation and poison water – maybe it's the sort of place travel enthusiasts would love to go to and just get lost within for a week.

Then there is Coming to America; a sweet and charming 1980s comedy made by the Americans about Africans quite literally coming to America – the ultimate fish out of the ultimate bowl. Director Landis clearly does not want to take sides when it comes to either ideas of representation or stereotypes. He shies away from Africa's problems (and I mean BIG problems given it was 1988) and instead focuses the African based action on the royals of fictional (surprise, surprise) country Zamunda and their routines and hardships. Prince Akeem's (Murphy) biggest worry in a standard day is not where the next meal or a clean drink of water is going to come from but the annoying flower petals that constantly get dropped at his feet throughout the day but he is also frustrated with his inability to live his own life.

But Landis isn't stupid and uses the setting of Africa as a utopia full of beautiful female servants, waiters waiting on you every need and a palace complete with acres and acres of giraffe and elephant roaming garden only to compare in a drastic manner the situation America (New York's 'Queens' in particular) finds itself in; it is a brutal and quite powerful comparison between America as Americans know it, yet perhaps refuse to accept and a far off continent know as Africa. And so the prince of this heavenly kingdom grows tired of being pampering and grows some ideas that incorporate Freud's readings: the scene I question is when Akeem discusses moving away and breaking off from his parents' supervision (something all adults must do eventually) in a room that disturbingly resembles a child's nursery, what with its quite wallpapers and colourful surroundings.

So instead of staying behind and risk becoming a perhaps less psychotic Norman Bates, Akeem travels to America with his good friend and royal supervisor Semmi (Hall). They are African's instead without everything to gain, nothing to loose but everything to loose and nothing to gain – but that's the way Akeem wants it and the experience of everyday life in a 'normal' living environment is set to do him some good. What follows is a standard but enjoyable and somewhat funny venture through someone's life via meeting people, getting jobs, meeting members of the opposite sex and most importantly to Akeem, living out. But this is where the humour and the manner in which Landis wants to sit on the fence or not becomes a little blurred. Most of the innocent humour is limited to jokes about royals: Queens, palace, kings, etc. but there seems to be some ill motivated gags revolving around a barber shop where three African Americans and a Jew hang around all day; discussing various things like who the best boxer to ever live was – the fact that Cassius Clay changed his name to Mohammed Ali seems to spark some sort of undertone and needless racism but Murphy's energetic delivery aids in the racism going under the radar. Maybe Landis was lucky he had such a performer to give that delivery.

However familiar the routine is, the execution is fast and snappy which entertains. Boy meets girl, girl is already taken by someone else of a higher level and boy must win girl. The spin on this is that whoever watching might have been in that situation, Akeem's trump card the whole time is that he is a hundred times richer than the supposed already rich guy the girl is with. This situation in the past has had Akeem's caricature as a poor and unknown guy who must work his way up but the spin on the material here is refreshing. Then again, the nasty product placement in the form of McDowell's instead of McDonald's is sad even if it comes off as a spoof in both name, emblem and choice of meal. The film also dabbles into the lives of others working at the restaurant and one sad case's own America Dream as he attempts to work his way up the fast food chain's ladder into management. Coming to America's finale may seem a little formulated but it's just the motions being gone through. The racism may seem in bad taste what with the 'black awareness week' thrown in as well as the barber shop sequences but the film is uplifting and somewhat funny. I just wonder what royal themed location they would've chosen has the coin come up Los Angles: 'King Estates' in south L.A. perhaps?

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Eddie Murphy's last great solo movie

Author: Maziun from Poland
31 December 2013

If somebody in the 80's would say that people will run away with scream at the mention of " a new comedy with Eddie Murphy " he would end in mental hospital . Eddie Murphy was AWESOME in the 80's . "48 hours" , "Trading places " , "Beverly Hills cop" and finally "Coming to America" – all great movies , a true classics. Add to that a successful stand up tour "Eddie Murphy RAW" and a quite successful music career (with popular "My girl wants to part all the time" song) . After such successful decade came much weaker decade – the 90's. Still Murphy made great "Mulan" , good "Life" , decent "Distinguished gentleman" and "Metro" . Eddie lost his touch in after year 2000 . Yes , he got Oscar nominee for "Dreamgirls" and was great in "Shrek" franchise , but his solo movies became terrible disasters that nobody wants to watch. Today Eddie is not funny anymore and keeps making all those dreadful family friendly crap movies . Maybe some day he will be back…

"Coming to America" is Murphy's second movie made with John Landis . Just like "Trading places" it's a movie with a lot of heart underneath lot of fun . It pretty much feels (just like "TP") like an movie that Frank Capra would made in the 80's. It's not a romantic comedy as many of the reviewers say , even if the love story is important part of the movie . It's a comedy and romance mixed together very well – an reversed version of "Cinderella" since it's prince who comes looking for woman , not the other way around.

It's hard to believe today that this movie was made by Disney. We have some nudity , F-words , sexual jokes and even some toilet joke . Yet , everything is presented here with such charm and good taste that you won't be offended , but laughing out loud. The movie does throws too many jokes and some of the are obviously weaker than others . Overall the movie manages to have a high quality jokes from the beginning to the end.

Most of the fun here comes from the confrontation of live in Zamunda and America . Those are two different worlds . Zamunda is presented as a country straight from fairy tale . The movie never makes an attempt to copy reality. Zamunda has to be in a total opposition with New York for the film's own comedic purposes . Same goes for a simple , but incredibly effective duo of Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and Semmi (Arsenio Hall) . First one is amusingly naive and enthusiastic about everything . Second is pessimistic and down to earth . Together they hilarious . One completes another and the results are wonderful.

The power of the movie might lay in the performances of the actors and actresses . "Coming to America" is probably one of the best acted not only comedies , but movies of ALL time. Every character that we meet here is memorable , likable and has at least one great comic moment (for example : the lady at the post office). "CTA" is pretty much a black movie , since the only non-black person here is Louie Anderson (creator of cartoon "Life with Louie") as the sympathetic worker at McDowell's restaurant.

The main star is of course Eddie . This film marks the first time Eddie Murphy played multiple characters the same film. Something which has gone on to be a trademark of his ("Nutty professor " ) . Murphy is top notch as the old Jewish man in the barbershop . Yes , the make up is brilliant too , but it's amazing how he disappeared completely in that role. It shows you how REALLY TALENTED guy he is . Murphy also makes Prince Akeem a true human character – when the movie needs it you can see an intelligent , humble , sensitive human underneath all that joyful attitude.

Arsenio Hall also likes to dress up ( he's hilarious as the woman in the bar) and gives a great supporting performance as Murphy's sidekick . He's pessimistic attitude brings a lot of fun. Who could forget James Earl Jones as the King and as the Queen ? They both are perfect royal couple – tough on the outside and good hearted inside. No wonder they played another royal couple – in "Lion king". John Amos is delightful as the greedy but sweet McDowell , Shari Hadley is charming as Lisa , Eriq La Salle is amusing as the shallow playboy .

Watch out for really young Cuba Gooding Jr. as one of the barber shop clients , Samuel L. Jackson as a robber and for Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche appearing in one of the most brilliant easter egg EVER .

"Coming to America" was one of the movies of my childhood . After all those years it holds incredibly strong . It beats the s*** out of Murphy's recent comedies and it's simply one of the greatest comedies EVER. It's funny , charming , has heart , it's wonderfully acted and has all the magic of 80's cinema . I give it 8/10.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of Eddie Murphy's best

Author: Mr-Fusion from United States
20 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Were it not for the lousy "Beverly Hills Cop III", John Landis and Eddie Murphy would've pulled off a wicked hat trick of awesome movies. But we still have "Trading Places" and "Coming to America", the latter of which remains a sterling example of both a director and star who know what the hell they're doing. Murphy gets the chance to show off his comedic wit and his ever-likable persona as the unhappy African prince who goes to America in search of true love. Both Murphy and Arsenio Hall hold a masterclass in playing an array of different characters in the same scene, resulting in a number of setups that keep "Coming to America" very memorable and . . . nay, a classic.

This is a genuinely funny movie with great performances all around (not least of which from John Amos, Eriq La Salle and James Earl Jones), and loads of comedic bits.

Fantastic movie.


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious.Some of Murphys funniest roles

Author: Dillon Harris from Ireland
17 August 2012

Coming To America is a brilliant,hilarious movie with a great story,characters and cast.Eddie Murphy did a fantastic job as Prince Akeem,Clarence the hairdresser and the Sexy Chocolate guy,who where all very funny.I also thought Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones did a fantastic job,and altogether makes for a great movie with a great cast.Definitely some of Eddie Murphys better work.

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is tired of always being pampered.When he turns 21,he decides to head to New York to find his own princess instead of getting his father King Jaffe Joffer (Jammes Earl Jones) to find one suited for him.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Eddie Murphy plays a really sweet character, for once, in Coming to America

Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, LA
18 February 2012

Before this movie, Eddie Murphy mostly played smart-ass guys who said a lot of profane things which was very evident in his stand-up programs as well. Here he plays Prince Akeem who seems the be the sweetest person who's only use of the f-word-or any other dirty one-was in greeting his Queens neighbors in mistakenly thinking they're warmly greeting him. This was Murphy at his most charming and charismatic. So we want him to get the girl here and Shari Headley is so charming as the leading lady. And Arsenio Hall was perfect as his sidekick Semmi. Actually, both Murphy and Hall do some other characters that are also very funny. And besides them, there's also James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair, and John Amos to round out the compelling veterans in the supporting cast among newcomers like Samuel L. Jackson and Eriq La Salle and Louie Anderson. What else, well since Eddie and director John Landis were also involved in Trading Places, there's an appearance of a couple of that movie's players that was another bright spot in the picture. Really, all I'll now say is if you haven't seen Coming to America, what are you waiting for? Watch it!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

It's pure Eddie Murphy gold!

Author: hot_in_pink_hate_red from Canada
3 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I fist saw the movie trailer, I thought it was funny and couldn't wait to see it. When I finally did, I couldn't stop cracking up! Eddie is SO funny as Prince Akeem and who knew that Aresnio Hall had Comedic chops too as Semmi. When you look at Prince Akeem, you can't help but feel that he seem partially based on Michael Jackson. (In the famous person wants to be with someone who WON'T hitch with him 'cause of what he is phase, oh and the 'Soul Glo' product looks like it's inspired by MJ's hair too is another sign.) James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair are good as Eddie's parents and John Amos is good as Shari Headley father too. This film has the most funniest scenes, such as the ones with Eddie and Arsenio as multiple characters! This film is pure Eddie Murphy gold and is one of his best movies!

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