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Coming 2 America: But, Why?

Upon becoming a contributing writer for Atlanta Film and TV, I heavily contemplated the topic of my debut article. Would it be something witty? Thought-provoking? A deep dive into the entertainment industry, perhaps? I had several ideas locked and loaded, and I was ready to let my opinions fly. Then came the movie release of Coming 2 America and everything changed.

In full disclosure, Coming to America (the original) is my favorite movie, ever. I know the movie wasn’t groundbreaking, however, it was a fun novelty film that knew exactly what it was, and more importantly, what it wasn’t. And that’s what I loved about it. So, when news first broke of Coming 2 America, the sequel distinguishable by the number 2 in its title, I admit, I was filled with reservation. I’m sure we all can recall a movie we loved from our pasts only to have its memory ruined by an awful sequel. Nevertheless, I checked my bias at the door and agreed to give the movie a chance with no preconceived notions baked in.

Within the first few scenes, my brow involuntarily furrowed; it was more of a scowl, to be honest. I thought to myself, “What is this %@#?” Around the twenty-three-minute mark, and I’m certain of the time because I checked to see how much longer I had to be tormented, I paused the movie. I literally needed a break to escape whatever this was I’d subjected myself to. It was at that moment, my brain began mercilessly mocking my heart by asking, “You waited 30 years for this? You’re an idiot!”

To say this movie was a disappointment would be a grave understatement. I stated in the beginning of this piece that Coming to America (the original) holds a special place in my heart; by no means did I expect the sequel to be as endearing. I did, however, expect it to bear some semblance of a good movie. Sadly, it didn’t. Now… I don’t want to nitpick all the things I didn’t like about the film, which are many, so, instead, I’ll summarize my feelings by quoting the great American philosopher Randy Jackson from the TV show American Idol. “That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.”

The Coming to America franchise missed its opportunity to release this film two decades ago. Waiting thirty years to release a sequel is asking a lot of a film—even for a franchise this beloved. In my opinion, this is a classic case of not knowing when to leave well enough alone.

Stay tuned for a conversation with Atlanta Film and TV on Clubhouse. "Coming 2 America: From A Screenwriter's Perspective," on Friday 3/12 @ 7 pm!

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