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Coming to America (SE)
DVD disk
Jun 5, 2007 By: Jason Adams
Coming to America (SE) order
Director:
John Landis

Actors:
Eddie Murphy
Arsenio Hall
James Earl Jones

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Trying to escape from a marriage arranged by his royal parents, a pampered young prince travels from Africa to New York City to pose as a student and find a bride who likes him for who he really is.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Since Ive bemoaned the fate of Eddie Murphys career in previous reviews, Ill spare you my rambling and just say that, yes, COMING TO AMERICA is a good movie. The once-edgy comic reunited with equally-missed director John Landis for the first time since TRADING PLACES for this 1988 film. AMERICA is not as great as their first outing, but its still pretty damn funny thanks to Murphy. For one, it marks the first time Murphy played a character that was not a street-smart, urban youth. His Prince Akeem is more the reserved nice-guy type, but when his pampered self clashes with the sordid streets of Queens it makes for lots of laughs. So if youre looking for Axel Foley or the foul mouthed comedian from RAW and DELIRIOUS, you should change your expectations accordingly. Aside from a few F-bombs and naked servants, the movie is relatively tame.

In fact, besides the hilariously outlandish beginning in Zamunda and the initial fish-out-of-water conflict in New York, a good chunk of COMING TO AMERICA is a generic romantic comedy. Its not bad and it never ceases to be entertaining, but after seeing countless movies that follow the same formula, the romance plot pales in comparison to the rest of the films funny parts. And theres plenty of memorable moments that stick out, such as the barbershop scene, the Soul Glo commercial, the smooth sounds of Sexual Chocolate, as well as the great supporting cast. That includes Arsenio Hall and James Earl Jones, but the most notable supporting actorEddie Murphy! COMING TO AMERICA marks the first time Murphy did the multiple-characters routine and, along with Hall and Rick Bakers unbelievable makeup, provided some of the movies best characters. Seeing him as a 70 year old white Jewish guy arguing with himself about Muhammad Alis career makes COMING TO AMERICA worth watching at least once.
THE EXTRAS
Wasnt this supposed to be called the Soul Glo Edition at one point? I actually liked that name and would prefer to see some Jheri curls on the cover instead of that tacky cheetah print. The DVD itself is a big improvement on the previous barebones edition, although the lack of Eddie Murphy is unfortunate.

The Coming Together of America (24:36): A retrospective on the making of the movie with interviews mainly with director John Landis (whose no-BS attitude is refreshing). Theres some old behind the scenes footage and a decent chronicling of the project and for fans.

The Costumes of COMING TO AMERICA (18:05): How was I going to dress black men in gold regalia and not have it be SUPERFLY? A+ for honesty.

Character Building: The Many Faces of Rick Baker (12:54): Baker deserves every bit of praise in this featurette, which shows how he did the incredible makeup on Murphy and Arsenio Hall, as well as how Landis was able to shoot them all in the same scene.

Composing AMERICA (11:09): Composer Nile Rodgers was a major music producer in the 80s for David Bowie, Madonna and Duran Duran. But more importantly he is responsible for the Soul Glo theme song which is one of the four greatest things to come from cinema ever.

A Vintage Sit-Down with Eddie and Arsenio (5:37): A short interview from the time of the films release, showcasing the good rapport the two stars have together, even if some of the questions they get asked are truly awful. (Describe each other in one word? Dude, you have 1980s Eddie Murphy in front of you. You can do better than that.)

A Theatrical Trailer, Photo Gallery and Previews round things out.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The royal penis is clean, your Highness. Well, that line is easily worth three stars on its own. COMING TO AMERICA remains an enjoyable piece of work two decades later, with plenty to like and laugh at, but its not as bust-a-gut funny as some of Murphys other work from that era.

Extra Tidbit: Look for cameos by Samuel L Jackson, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy, who reprise their roles as the Duke Brothers from TRADING PLACES.
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