Friday, March 11, 2011
COMING TO AMERICA
(June 1988, U.S.)
From the years 1982 to 1988, I loved just about everything Eddie Murphy did. Even commercial duds like BEST DEFENSE (1984) and THE GOLDEN CHILD (1986) had some good moments for me. After 1988, two things happened; the first was that the man got it into his head that he could direct a movie and literally tortured me with HARLEM NIGHTS (1989). The second was that he suddenly decided to tone himself down and make a whole bunch of forgettable family films. And so, even though BOWFINGER (1999) has some decent moments in it and he does a pretty funny voice for Donkey in the SHREK movies, it's my opinion that Eddie Murphy is a man who needs to get raw and down and dirty all over again, for my sake at the very least.
So it's safe to say that I'm of the opinion that COMING TO AMERICA was the last great Eddie Murphy movie. You know what else? It's also safe to say that it was also the last great film John Landis directed. But's its Eddie Murphy's role as the overly-pampered great prince and heir to the throne Akeem of the fictitious African country Zamunda who comes to America to seek out his bride (in Queens, New York City of all places) that's irresistably funny and fun to watch. By his side is his loyal sidekick Semmi (played hilariously by Arsenio Hall) who despises everything the entire shithole borough of Queens stands for (who can blame him??). And when you watch James Earl Jones as the mighty king of the African land, you can almost understand why he was chosen to provide the voice of Mufasa in THE LION KING (1994); from one king right to another. The movie's plotline is as cliche as you might expect - Akeem falls in love with a sweet, simple girl, he doesn't tell her she's a prince, she finds out anyway, he almost loses her, he gets her back and marries her. Yes, it may all sound a little blah, blah, blah, but it works for one reason - Eddie Murphy is consistently funny (for the last time) and that's what you really want in any of his comedies.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Akeem (happily referring to his neighborhood in Queens): "Behold, Semmi - life! Real life! A thing that we have been denied for far too long! Good morning, my neighbors!"
Neighbor: "Hey, fuck you!"
Akeem (happy): "Yes, yes, fuck you, too!"