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Wonderful movie!
Chromium_526 February 2004
The first part of this movie, showing Eddie Murphy's life as an African prince, is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I loved it. The wedding ceremony alone was so funny, I almost fell out of my chair from laughing so hard. I thought this could be one of the funniest movies of all time.

At about the halfway point, though, it stops being a laugh-a-minute riot, and kind of settles down into more of a quiet romance movie. The scene at the basketball game (with the man who worships Murphy) is the last really hilarious thing that happens. After that, it never again reaches the energy of the beginning.

This is not really a bad thing, though: it is still enjoyable from start to finish, even during the quiet parts. It has good actors, and it is fun to watch, and that makes it a great movie. I highly recommend it; it is one of my favorite comedies. I give it 8 out of 10 stars. See it if you haven't.
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Another Great Comedy Starring Eddie Murphy
soranno14 December 2002
After several years of starring in rowdy action comedies and con man capers, Eddie Murphy gets a chance to deliver a more restrained performance with this film and he manages to do so very well. Murphy portrays Akeem, an African prince who is being pressured into a forced marriage by his parents (James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair). The woman that they have chosen for him only sees him for his royalty and therefore does not really love him. Akeem sees this right away and brings his loyal servant, Semi (Arsenio Hall) along with him on a discreet mission to America where Akeem hopes to find a beautiful woman who will love him and accept him for who he really is and not just see him for his royalty. Posing as "common folk", Akeem and Semi get jobs at a McDonald's style restaurant and Akeem soon falls for the daughter (Shari Headley) of the restaurant's owner (John Amos). The film features many hilarious scenes and characters especially a group of boxing obsessed senior citizens who spend their days arguing with a barber shop owner. Murphy and Hall demonstrate their levels of versatility by managing to go under heavy makeup and portray several different costarring roles. Yet another example of why Murphy is one of the funniest actors in recent Hollywood history.
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Royal Laughs
george.schmidt28 February 2003
COMING TO AMERICA (1988) *** Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair, Shari Headley, John Amos, Eriq La Salle, Louie Anderson. Murphy does a fine job as an African prince unhappy about his upcoming nuptials to a woman he has never met so he sets off to New York to find his true love (and queen) with some sweet moments as well as comic (thanks largely to his and Hall's neat hat trick of playing several different characters thanks to the miracle of Rick Baker's make up). Look sharply for Vondie Curtis Hall (of tv's "Chicago Hope") as an overly welcoming fellow native stateside; Cuba Gooding Jr. in a blink-and-you'll miss cameo (getting a haircut) and the clever inserting of Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as the Randolph Brothers from Murphy's and director John Landis' previous joint effort "Trading Places". Best bit: Murphy becoming a real New Yorker and greeting a screaming abusive neighbor with "Yes! Yes! ... and F**K YOU TOO!!!"
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Excellent humor and a nice story
Philip Van der Veken10 April 2005
I once used to be a fan of Eddie Murphy and his movies, but in recent years the only one of "his" movies that I loved was 'Shrek'. He's excellent as the voice of Donkey, but the rest of his movies aren't exactly the best examples of fine humor (think of movies like 'The Nutty Professor'). It's a good thing that from time to time you can still see one of his older ones on the television, so you won't forget that the man really has some talent.

In this movie Eddie Murphy plays, most of the time, the role of Prince Akeem of Zamunda. On his 21st birthday he'll have to marry a woman he has never seen before. Because he isn't too happy with that and because he wants a wife that can do more than doing exactly what he tells her to do (like for instance barking like a dog), he decides to go to America to find the love of his life. The only problem is that the girl shouldn't love him for his title and his money, but for his personality. At first all he gets is a big culture shock, but eventually he'll find a girl he really likes...

This movie is really one of the funniest Eddie Murphy has ever made. It has a good story and offers plenty of laughs, but this isn't a comedy full of toilet humor and may therefor seem dated to the youngest viewers (let's say those who were born in the nineties). Personally I really appreciated the fact that not all humor was about farting, vomiting and other bodily functions, but perhaps that's just me, perhaps I'm just getting too old to understand today's humor (almost 27 right now).

There are some excellent parts in the movie (I really love those old men at the barber shop for instance) and overall the quality is high enough to enjoy the entire movie. That's why I give it a 7.5/10.
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Eddie Murphy's greatest movie.
PWNYCNY7 November 2005
If "Trading Places" is Dan Ackroyd's greatest movie, then "Coming to America" is Eddie Murphy's greatest movie, and for much the same reasons. Although the movie may be considered a comedy, and indeed has its humorous moments, its theme is quite serious. For it's about a man who is willing to sacrifice money, privilege, power, and position in quest for personal happiness. This is a powerful role and Eddie Murphy is great in this role. This movie is proof that when given the chance, a comic actor like Eddie Murphy is capable of playing a complex character that is central to a story. The producers of this movie evidently knew that in Eddie Murphy they had a actor around whom they could create an excellent movie, and with this movie they prove they were right.
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Gotta love this off the wall comedy
mjw230529 December 2006
Eddie Murphy is the Prince of Zamunda, he is very wealthy and very pampered. When he refuses to marry the bride his father has arranged for him, he goes to Queens to find his queen. With his closest companion (Arsenio Hall) they try to blend in with the everyday people of New York, taking jobs as cleaners in a local burger bar.

The entire film is packed with slick gags, hilarious characters and delightful parody. Coming to American is a romantic comedy that entertains you again and again, and Eddie Murphy is on top form throughout.

Recommended 7/10
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Murphy and Hall shine
SmileysWorld13 April 2002
It must take a lot of hard work to play multi characters film,and the hard work of Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall really pay off.They take a very unique idea for a film,play most of the characters in it,and the results are nothing short of hilarious.Murphy plays (among others), Prince Akeem of Zumunda.Akeem,discouraged with the arranged marriage tradition of his beloved country,seeks to find the true meaning of love in America.The typical fish out of water style here is worked to perfection by Murphy,as well as Hall.Also excellent are James Earl Jones(as always),and Madge Sinclair as King Jaffe and Queen Aoleon, Akeem's parents.Jones and Sinclair would later portray husband and wife again 6 years later,as the parents of Simba in The Lion King,a little trivia for those of you who may not have known.There is a clever tie-in involving Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy,portraying their characters from another Murphy film,Trading Places.A unique story,great character acting and a great supporting cast make Coming to America great fun to watch.
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Hilarious romantic-comedy-drama with a great ensemble cast
aaronclemens5 February 2005
Coming to America centers on the story of young prince, set up for an arranged marriage. He leaves his home in Africa to find a woman that he can truly love. Like all good tales, this one has already been told many times. It covers how a newcomer must adjust to a new culture, including encountering difficulties in the romance department, and fathers who just don't understand. This is all done to comedic effect, but not without romantic and dramatic overtones, to the credit of all involved.

I could watch this movie every week (actually, I have been lately, since it's on CINEMAX). The writing and direction was fantastic, the film is perfectly paced, with constant sight gags and witty repartee. The film works because actors selected have great timing.

Eddie Murphy (Akeem, et al) is quite versatile as the lead. He's in his very best form, earnest when he needs to in this feel-good comedy, with on-point comic timing.

Shari Headley (Lisa McDowell), she's level headed, perfect in delivering outrage and frustration as well as contentment and laughter.

Allison Dean (Princess in "Cool as Ice") as Patricia is not only hot, I love her nappturality hair styles. (Shari's got some nice ones too). Allison ideally portrays the jilted, petulant, and gold-digging little sister.

Eriq La Salle (Darryl) is the outlandish villain you can actually feel sorry for. His Jeri curl, damn, it's atrocious.

Arsenio Hall (Semmi, et al) was a great, smarmy, sidekick.

I could go on and on. The supporting cast, from James Earl Jones (King Jaffe Joffer) and Madge Sinclair (Queen Aoleon) to Frankie Faison (Landlord) and Samuel L. Jackson (hold-up guy), are spectacular.

Every time I watch it again, I find something new. I enjoyed it when I was younger, but now I like it even more.
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Probably the funniest movie ever
undsosache@hotmail.com27 January 2004
I had to buy it on DVD... I saw this movie about 100 time on VHS and I felt this movie has to make part of my "digital-collection". I saw it first time in theatre in the out-coming-year and the gags influenced my whole youth. Even nowadays (I'm 27 years old) I often talk about this movie with my friends. I simply love it like all the Eddie-Movies till and including "Boomerang".

Where's the spoon? Aha...........
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Pure 80's fun ...
ElMaruecan8217 April 2012
"Coming to America" is one of these films that best exemplifies the 80's exuberance and unique appeal, it's raunchy and outrageous on the surface but sweet and good-hearted inside. And the film carries such a tender naivety in its portrayal of the fictional country of Zamunda and Royal Family's lifestyle that it makes today's films depressingly cynical in their desperate attempt to copy reality by any means or feature likable losers making their bones on redeeming bitches.

Yes, a country like Zamunda is very improbable but that makes the beginning of the film so fascinating. That Prince Akeem, waking up on his 21st birthday, would be treated with such an exaggerated devotion echoes one of Cinema's greatest values: escapism and dream. It doesn't work in every case but here it does and for a simple reason: the "Coming to America" plot line perfectly contrasts with the "Coming from Zamunda"set-up, Zamunda had to be in a total opposition with New York for the film's own comedic purposes. It doesn't avoid some clichés like the passing of zebras and elephants to show that the film is set in the African continent, yet it's one of these moments we remember the most from the film just before, as the trailer says, the fairy tale stops as soon as the first shot of New York City appears.

"Coming to America", directed by John Landis and starring Eddie Murphy, is in the same vein than their previous work in "Trading Places", a movie that I compared to Frank Capra's classics. Only this time, it's not a wags to riches story but quite the opposite, it's a Cinderella story told in reverse since it's the Prince Akeem who comes to America to marry a woman, and as he explains to his friend Semmi (Aresnio Hall) : "I want a woman who will arouse my intellect as well as my loins". This premise leads to a succession of situations so funny that you almost forget about the romantic purpose of Prince Akeem's trip and the presence of Arsenio Hall as the second lead of the film is responsible of that as he literally outshines all the other cast members and creates the perfect comic-straight man duo that this kind of stories need. Semi's priceless look from the window when Akeem shouts: "Life. Real life! A thing that we have been denied for far too long!" is the perfect counterpart to Akeem's naive enthusiasm as he joyfully gives the F-word back to an angry neighbor.

After they find a place to live and a job, the whole New York's discovery part is a tribute to the actors' extraordinary talent to portray different characters from chatting barbers to drags, from singers to pervert reverends, they both nail their roles and we, as viewers, are invited to spot them every once in a while. Eddie Murphy is top notch as the old Jewish man in the barbershop, such an uncanny impression that I admit it fooled me the first time I saw it. The beauty of "Coming to Africa" is that it features two levels of true appreciation, one on the story and another through a series of sketch-like vignettes demonstrating two sides of the actors' talent, without overdoing them. In a way, "Coming to America" prefigures the appeal of Eddie Murphy's "Nutty Professor" and his wonderful talent as a comedian when given a good role, and Prince Akeem is one of his best. But to attribute the success of the film only on Eddie Murphy's talent would be untrue, and even more unfair.

Another force of the film relies on the whole casting, starting with the perfect couple that could have ever played Akeem's parents: James Earl Jones as the authoritarian King Jaffe Joffe and Madge Sinclair as the most comprehensive mother but no less Queen Aoloan, both who'd team up later to play much ore memorable royal couple in a certain Disney film set in Africa. Both Jones and Sinclair possess a majestic and absolutely irresistible aura, and the powerful image of King Jaffe Joffe inspires an ominous sensation beautifully conveyed by the music that accompanies his own entrance in New York. The rest of the cast include another veteran actor, John Amos, as the McDowell restaurant chain owner, Shari Hadley as his beautiful daughter, Eriq La Salle as her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, Samuel L. Jackson in his typical scene-stealing 80's supporting roles and it also features briefs but heart-warming cameos of Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as … you know, and if you don't, well, make a guess.

As a comedy and romance (not a romantic comedy, mind you) the film is not without some predictable situations, but it delivers what is expected, it's funny, it has a happy ending, and most of hits scenes can be watched regardless of their context. It's a great movie to watch and re-watch and its classical status can't be denied, since 24 years later after its release, the image of Murphy as the Old Jewish man, Arsenio Hall as a woman, the McDowell's logo and the unforgettable 'Soul Glo' will forever be associated with the 80's, a decade where movies were made just for fun and only for fun.
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Trading Countries
MovieAddict20162 November 2004
Eddie Murphy stars as Prince Hakeem, who comes to America with his servant (Arsenio Hall) in search of a future wife who can respect him for his intelligence, not his money. The film is another '80s fish-out-of-water comedy in the vein of "Crocodile Dundee" -- it delivers some of the best jokes of Murphy's career. Although it never becomes "great" and is quite uneven at times, entering its rough spots where the jokes seem to slow down and become not quite as funny, the movie is always entertaining and Murphy's charismatic lead performance displays his skills as a comedian -- unfortunately Hall is not as fortunate. Frankly, he stinks.

The movie features a wide range of cameos and/or star appearances (before they became stars) -- James Earl Jones, Louie Anderson, and Samuel L. Jackson popping up in various scenes.

The movie works as a sort of sequel to TRADING PLACES (1983) -- both star Eddie Murphy, both were directed by John Landis, both deal with the prospect of "trading places" (or countries, in this situation), etc.

Also, it features a great self-referential moment (linked to Trading Places) when Murphy gives a couple of bums a wad of money. It turns out the homeless guys are more than just familiar faces...

Recommended. 4/5
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I just did not think it ran well on all cylinders.
Aaron13751 July 2008
This Eddie Murphy comedy was somewhat funny at times, but I don't know...for me it missed the mark. Started out relatively strong, but faded in the end when it got a bit to sentimental, which admittedly a lot of comedies tend to do. The story has Murphy as a Prince who is to be married to a woman who has been groomed to be his bride by following his every command. Eddie's character does not want this though, he yearns to find real love so he is off to America a place where not everyone knows who he is to find Mrs. Right as it were. He gets a job as a worker at a McDonald's rip off type joint (which to me is the funniest parts of the movie) and falls for the daughter of the man who runs this establishment all the while keeping his identity as a prince a secret. Arsenio is rather good as his faithful traveling companion as is most of the cast. They are not the problem, the fact this movie tends to lag is. Slow lengths of the film where there is not all that much funny stuff going on, the movie is under two hours, but feels more like a two and a half hour movie. I say I would have liked it more had they trimmed it down ten or so minutes and kept the laughs going throughout the whole movie as they were the first part of it.
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Extremely over-indulgent but it has its moments
MartinHafer10 June 2007
In some ways, seeing this film is a tad disturbing to me. First, the film has a pretty big budget and plenty of gloss--and this has the effect of muting Eddie Murphy's natural comedic talents. Second, while it's obvious that he and his buddy Arsenio had a great time making this film, I felt like I was watching an inside joke and just didn't see what all the hubbub was about, as the movie made huge bucks at the box office. While there were some decent moments here and there, it just seemed like Murphy was standing around smiling at the camera expecting to be loved and adored instead of being funny. This was especially true during the scenes where he and Arsenio played multiple roles--it just wasn't all that funny.
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A trip down memory lane part 1
Newsense11 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I remember when I got my first VCR. Coming To America, Married To The Mob and Grease where the first VHS tapes that I had. Me and my mother used to watch Coming To America like crazy before my mom made the big mistake of lending the tape to a friend we never saw again. Years later I'm finally reunited with this movie and decide to write this review.

The story as you all know is about a Prince named Akeem(Eddie Murphy) that grows weary of being pampered and being given a bride chooses to flee to America to find a bride of his own. He moves to a slum in Queens, New York and lives in a rundown hotel and works at the local McDonald's knockoff called McDowell's owned by Cleo McDowell(John Amos). He ends up falling for Cleo's beautiful daughter Lisa(Shari Headley).

The chemistry between Eddie Murphy and the rest of the cast is perfect. Arsenio Hall(who plays Semmi) as well as Eddie Murphy show you that they are experts at playing different characters in the movie. The barber shop scenes will always be the funniest scenes in the movie but the scene at the club when Akeem and Semmi are searching for that special lady is not far behind. Even most people will claim its kind of cheesy but I found the scenes with Prince Akeem and Lisa charming and they don't make a bad looking couple on screen. Movies like Coming To America are the reason why people are always going back to Eddie's early films as opposed to his films in the 2000s(with the exception of Dreamgirls of course). He looks like he wants to be in these movies and he puts his all into his roles in contrast to the movies that are terrible where he phones in his performance. Coming To America is a great film and is one of the best comedies to come out of Black cinema. Strongly recommended to anybody that likes blasts from the past.
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Charming but could be funnier
hall8951 June 2013
Coming to America is a movie which is generally remembered fondly. But in retrospect it is not quite as funny as you might remember it as having been. It has enough laughs to keep you more or less satisfied but it never truly reaches the heights of comic genius. The comedy is hit and miss, some of it really works but much of it does fall flat. The movie does have a story and a star that are sweet and endearing. Yes, this may be the one time Eddie Murphy can be described as sweet and endearing. He plays Prince Akeem, heir to the throne of the fictional (and somewhat bizarre) African nation of Zamunda. It's impossible not to be charmed by Akeem, who after being pampered to ridiculous extremes his whole life just wants to be normal. Most of all he wants to find love. In Zamunda a marriage has been prearranged for him. His beautiful bride-to-be has been groomed to be completely obedient and subservient to him. This is exactly what Akeem does not want. He wants an intelligent, independent woman who will love him for who he is, not for his wealth and royal status. Akeem will set out on a journey to find his ideal woman. Destination...Queens?

It is here, in a run-down area of perhaps New York City's least glamorous borough, that Akeem will seek his bride. He adapts to the commoner's life pretty well, almost reveling in being a poor man mopping the floor in a fast-food restaurant. His friend and traveling companion Semmi meanwhile longs for the lavish lifestyle they have left behind. The back-and-forth between this odd couple provides some laughs. It does not take long for Akeem to zero in on his ideal woman. Lisa is the very smart, and very beautiful, daughter of the owner of the restaurant in which Akeem works. Unfortunately she is in a relationship with Darryl who, in one of the movie's gags which doesn't work very well 25 years later, is heir to a Jheri curl fortune. Lisa's father likes Darryl because he's got money. He would never approve of his daughter being with poor Akeem. If he only knew. Akeem will never let on about his wealth. He will try to win Lisa's heart using his personality alone. It is a very charming pursuit.

By Eddie Murphy standards Coming to America is a very tame comedy. There is nothing all that raunchy or outrageous about it. Unfortunately there are stretches where there is not that much funny about it either. Comedic high points are scattered throughout but there are some pretty long lulls between the better moments. The movie is performed very well. Murphy is excellent. Arsenio Hall, playing Semmi, proves a good partner for Murphy. Shari Headley is excellent as Lisa, making it very easy to see why Akeem would fall in love with her. Eriq La Salle makes for a convincing jerk as Darryl. John Amos has some very good moments in playing Lisa's father. And James Earl Jones is a commanding presence as Akeem's father, the king of Zamunda. But for as good as all the performances are the movie never quite kicks into high gear. It is paced rather slowly, taking quite the meandering route to the finish line. Murphy is very charming as Akeem, and the character has a few good fish out of water moments, but he is not as consistently funny as you would hope. In fact the funniest Murphy moments in the film come from some of the other characters he plays rather than from Akeem. And that is a problem in what is for all intents and purposes Akeem's movie. This is a movie which definitely has you rooting for its main character. It just doesn't have you laughing with him enough. Not a bad movie by any means. But no comedic masterpiece either.
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This movie makes you feel royalty
ironhorse_iv21 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is so rich with funny scenes that you can't help feeling good about yourself after watching this movie. There are so many gems in this movie from the "She's Your Queen" song, the McDowell's vs. McDonald's shtick, to the preacher relating a bikini pageant to God's creation. There is countless amounts of funny humor. Coming to America stars Eddie Murphy as Akeem. Akeem is an African prince from the made up country of Zamunda. The depiction of Zamunda was hilarious, and I'm floored that some critics took it serious due to it making fun of Africans natures. First off, the portrayal of Africa is nothing like Africa itself and I think we all know that not all African women are subservient and are only interested in wealth. Yes, the African culture stresses obedience among other things but there is a fine line between being obedient and being subservient. Let's note that the portrayed is very fictitious, so don't get too serious about this. Most people who saw this film surely know that many African countries suffer from dire poverty, so some people might not find the story of a fabulously wealthy "African Prince" aristocrat going to America, not interesting. The reason for this is that Zamunda is based on the country of Zaire. Akeem's father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) the cap and lion pelt sash wearing king is modeled on Mobutu Sese Seko who ruled the country of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) from 1965 until shortly before his death in 1997, was one of the most evil dictators of the 20th Century, right up there with Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Idi Amin. The idea of a popular movie glorifying this level of theft, treating it as an object of amusement, is nauseating to some. Still the movie is interesting. Akeem go to Queen to avoid a loveless, arranged marriage and find a wife whom he can respect for her intelligence, non-materialistic and independent. That's so funny in a way, because how he misunderstood that by going to Queens that we will find a royal type woman. He will give up all his wealth and stand up to his domineering family in the name of freedom to feel disconnect in America due to the fresh off the boat misunderstanding of everything, and getting into all kinds of ridiculous situations with being an immigrant in America. Eddie Murphy's playing of the pampered prince was equally funny as Murphy manages to look smug and naive at the same time. I could easily understand his need to get away from the Royal Family and see what some other part of the world was like. Akeem and his sidekick Semi (Arsenio Hall) get mediocre jobs at a McDonald's rip off, McDowell and meet some interesting characters on the way. Characters like Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley) and her father Cleo (John Amos). Star spotters will have a field day locating Cuba Gooding Jr., Donna Summer, Louie Anderson, Eriq La Salle and Samuel L. Jackson in their minuscule supporting roles. Not only those Murphy and Hall play the two main characters, but countless amounts of sub characters in makeup. The make up on this film is amazing. Eddie Murphy was Clarence the barber and horrible singer Randy Watson. Believe it or not, the Jewish guy is also Eddie Murphy. Mind blown. Hall was also Morris the barber and Reverend Brown in the film. The movie was light and frivolous, just as expected. Gags were aplenty. The acting bordered on corny, but that's common in comedies. I left the video wondering if Queens was actually that bad or if it was just all part of the joke. Good funny movie and a very sweet story, made at the peak of Murphy's popularity. Check it out.
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This is one good Eddie Murphy movie
david-sarkies18 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is famous because of the number of characters that Eddie Murphy and Asinio Hall manage to play. It is not that this is something new, but rather the make up is so well done that you cannot even recognise them. One character that Murphy plays is in fact white, and when I suggested to my friend that this was Murphy, his reply was - it can't be, he's white! The basic plot is simple. Murphy is Adeeb, the heir to the throne of an obscenely rich African country and he is going to be married to a woman whom he had not known until she was presented to him on his 21st birthday. He has had everything done for him since he was a kid and is getting sick of it. When he learns that his wife to be's opinion is tailored so that everything he likes, she likes, he gets fed up and decides to go on a trip. His father thinks that it is to sow his wild oats, but he wants to find a wife. So he takes his servant, and goes to Queens in New York because, logically thinking, that is where he is going to find his queen. Moreso, he wants to live like a pauper and hires the grungiest flat available and gets a job as a floor mopper at McDowells, a restaurant that is very similar to a certain other restaurant which shall remain unnamed so as to protect me for defamation.

The plot and themes aren't deep, but that is not why I watch these movies. I watch them because Murphy has a cool sense of humour. He plays Adeeb, a naive African prince really well, and he plays the other characters even better. The barber shop scene is the highlight of this character swapping, even though he also plays the lead singer of a band called Sexual Chocolate.

The movie is very formulaic with the beautiful woman that Adeeb loves and the horrid, slimy boyfriend. In the end, as can be expected, she decides to marry him. This is not what I am interested in, but rather the spice that Murphy adds to his movie. Also the tie-in with Trading Places is also quite cool.
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Just tell me you didn't love me when you thought I was a goat herder, and I will never bother you ever again.
Spikeopath7 September 2012
Coming to America is directed by John Landis and adapted to screenplay by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein from a story originally created by Art Buchwald. It stars Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos. Music is scored by Nile Rodgers and cinematography by Sol Negrin and Woody Omens. Plot finds Murphy as Akeem Joffer, an African prince who comes to the United States in the hope of finding a good woman he can marry.

Released at a time when Eddie Murphy was ruling the 80s, Coming to America proves to be viable material for Murphy's talents. That's not to say it's a great film, a good one? Debatable now, and it was for sure a success at the box office, but it feels like a lazy excuse for some one liners and the picture hangs on a flimsy premise thread. As a whole it barely works as a romantic comedy (in fact the romance is distinctly tepid), but as a series of comedy set-ups for Murphy and Arsenio it does entertain the nostalgists and those who like immature gags. You do feel that with director Landis stating that Murphy was a pain on set-that Eddie had lost the zest and the willingness to learn that he had on Trading Places five years earlier, that Murphy didn't let Landis produce the picture the director originally envisaged.

No doubt about it, I liked the film much better back in the day, back then the fish out of water comedy hadn't been done to death, and of course Murphy was still coasting in on the wave of charismatic success, which to myself and many others was enough to warrant being in his company. However, watching it now it feels tired and weary, the one film in Murphy's 80s comedy output that doesn't hold up, a chore to get through at nearly two hours in length, many comedy sequences stretched too far (the multi character gimmick played by the leads runs out of steam), an indulgence to ride in on the appeal of the film's two stars. The film actually marks a turning point for Murphy, he would follow this film with eight years of cinema mediocrity, something which I do believe lends Murphy fans to praise Coming to America far higher than they should.

It's certainly not a stinker, not at all. There is occasionally fun to be had, some well written gags, honest intentions to create a charming characterisation for the people. While a cameo appearance by a future star is always worth watching. But in the minority as I am about it, and I do consider myself a Murphy fan, I have to say the film smacks of cheating and laziness, and no amount of penis gags can alter how I now feel about it. I'm off to cuddle my copies of Trading Places, 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop. 5/10
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All good fun!
Kristine22 July 2009
Warning: 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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Light hearted fantasy/comedy
gcd7028 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
John Landis' fantasy-comedy is very light-hearted and thinly scripted. The story finds 'Prince Akeem of Zammundah' (Eddie Murphy) traveling to the United States with his assistant (Arsenio Hall) to find himself the ideal bride.

The film can be a lot of fun, and sometimes funny, but one must not take proceedings at all seriously or "Coming to America" becomes corny and flat. Ultimately predictable, and with no substance, it may not be much of a movie. However, isn't it nice to see Eddie Murphy in a much tamer picture which has seriously toned down the language, even if it does pop up here and there.

PS Look for the in-joke from "Trading Places". Very funny!

Thursday, January 7, 1993 - Video
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One of Eddie's Biggest Hits (Overrated in My Opinion)...
Isaac58553 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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Eddie Murphy's best.
smla024 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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Eddie and Arsenio at their best!!!
CityGrl6 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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One Of Eddie Murphy's Finest
sddavis6323 September 2002
I know this is going to put me in the minority, but I am not at all a big fan of Eddie Murphy's over the top and in your face style of comedy. In fact, in many of his movies I find him to be vaguely irritating. That is not at all the case, however, with "Coming To America," which - in my view - must surely rank as one of his best efforts.

In this movie, Murphy adopts a deliberately low-key and somewhat innocent style of comedy as Prince Akeem of "Zamunda," which serves to make him all the funnier. Akeem travels to America in search of a bride, after rejecting the arranged choice of his parents, the King and Queen (the great James Earl Jones - who was perfectly cast as the King - and Madge Sinclair respectively.) He decides that the appropriate place to find a bride who will eventually be Queen of Zamunda is, of course, Queens, N.Y. - and the story takes off from there.

There is a stellar cast of primarily black actors. In addition to Murphy, Jones and Sinclair, we see established actors such as John Amos (in a very funny role as the father of Akeem's love interest) and Arsenio Hall as Akeem's servant. Also interesting are somewhat early views of then (1988) lesser know black actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Eriq LaSalle. Shari Headley (with whom I was unfamiliar) does a reasonably good job as Lisa, who Akeem falls in love with.

There are not many weaknesses to this movie. Unfortunately, Murphy slips back into his more outrageous style playing a couple of lesser characters who hang out at the local barber shop and, as I often find with Murphy, I found those scenes irritating. But as Akeem he was wonderful. Headley's performance didn't blow me away, although it wasn't bad, and the scene in which Akeem and Semmi (Hall) seem to "interview" prospective brides in a Queens bar started out humorous, but got old very quickly. Minor quibbles, though. This is a very funny movie.

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Possibly Murphy's best film
MisterWhiplash1 March 2001
Sure Eddie Murphy has triumphed in The Nutty Professor and even in the underlooked Bowfinger, but I think Coming To America might just be his finest work (considering Beverly Hills Cop III). The story has Murphy as a African prince who decided to go to America (where else would be go- Queens, NY) with another prince type guy, played by Arsenio Hall, as Murphy look's for a wife. At times, I almost thought it would be like Arthur, but it isn't much like it though, thanks to multiple roles. In fact, Murphy and Hall have so much fun playing there characters (the barber shop scenes include some of Murphy and Hall's best stuff) that it is worth looking at through a few flaws. Favorite line- You should change of the name outside to the 3 putzs. A
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