Coming To America

John Landis

BY Keith CarmanPublished Jun 7, 2007

For the few who haven’t seen Eddie Murphy’s classic Coming To America, the film is a modern twist on the Cinderella fable. Akeem (Murphy) is a wealthy African prince destined to be married through arrangement. Displeased with this situation, he realises he needs to find a woman that will "excite both his loins and his intellect.” With begrudging manservant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) in tow, the two take off to Queens, NY in order to find Akeem’s bride. Enter the hilarity of two men caught up in the frantic, uncaring pace of America, their impact on that society and so on. Arguably the last great Eddie Murphy movie before his ego overcame his ability, Coming To America finds him in his element, delivering a memorable performance with kitsch and comedy. Naturally, his impact is enhanced by an incredible cast of both known and then up-and-coming talent, such as James Earl Jones, John Amos, Cuba Gooding Jr., Eriq La Salle, Louie Anderson and more. The chemistry between the actors is rich and earnest, making a simplistic plot entertaining, especially when we witness Murphy and Hall enjoying themselves dolled up in costumes to play secondary roles such as the bickering barbers or a seedy evangelist and lounge singer. Released as the "special collectors edition,” this version is basic, no better than previous releases. Relatively young in film terms, the print needs no altering and the tacked-on extras seem vaguely interesting, unless fans have been dying to watch director John Landis discuss how costumes were made and principal photography. Although one must admit that Rick Baker’s costuming featurette is interesting, as we witness Murphy and Hall transformed into the aforementioned supporting characters. While it’s great to see a modernised fairy tale on DVD again, there’s little included to merit that "special” emblazoned across the case.
(Paramount Pictures)

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