Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is bored with his life of privilege. Being dressed, bathed, and having his teeth brush for him has lost its charm. And his home, the fictional kingdom of Zamunda, where he lives with with the King and Queen (known to him as Mom and Dad) has started to seem suffocating in its predictability. Even the entertainment of a would-be wife can’t shake Akeem out of his funk.
That’s when he decides that he wants adventure, and to go to America to find a wife who won’t obey his every command like a dog, but will be a true partner. Along with his pretentious man-servant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), Akeem goes to Queens, New York to find his queen-to-be.
After weeks of going to bars and clubs and meeting women whom ranged from boring to borderline-psychotic, Akeem takes the advice of his neighbourhood barber, goes to church, and sees Lisa (Shari Headley), his dream woman.
Hilarity ensues as Akeem and Semmi take jobs at the McDonald’s-plagiarizing restaurant that Lisa’s father (John Amos) owns and the two, who are trying to pass themselves off as poor in order for Akeem to avoid opportunists, proceed to lie to everyone they meet, and navigate the treacherous waters of Lisa’s jealous boyfriend, Darrell (Eriq La Salle), her conniving sister, Patrice (Allison Dean), her money-hungry father, and Akeem’s own disapproving father (James Earl Jones).
Though Coming to America does display some subtle colourism at play in depictions of Lisa and her sister, Patrice, it doesn’t attack the character of Patrice or any of the darker women in the film. In this brilliant comedy, the ensemble cast absolutely shines, cultures clash comically and blend beautifully, and Akeem’s search for true love is unforgettable.
I give this one 4.5 stars.