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’Coming 2 America’: The Costumes Are Stunning

 

‘Coming 2 America’: The Costumes Are Beautiful

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Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America.

 

Quantrell D. Colbert/Amazon Studios

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Eddie Murphy returns as Prince Akeem in Coming 2 America.

 

Quantrell D. Colbert/Amazon Studios

 

“Okay … nice robes – lovely robes.”

These have been the phrases thrown out by the one and solely Aretha Franklin a number of years in the past, when pressed by a journalist to say the very first thing that got here to thoughts on the point out of Taylor Swift’s title. Assume “If you cannot say something good …” pragmatically utilized to a real-world scenario. A shade that may dwell in infamy and memes.

Craig Brewer’s Coming 2 America, the sequel to the enduring Eddie Murphy hit Coming to America, has arrived 33 years after its predecessor. Surprisingly, contemplating such a protracted hole, many of the beloved authentic forged has returned in elements each large and small. Murphy and Arsenio Corridor are again as Zamundan Prince Akeem and his BFF and private aide Semmi; James Earl Jones briefly reprises his function as King Jaffe Joffer, alongside John Amos (because the quick meals restauranteur Cleo McDowell), Shari Headley (Akeem’s love curiosity, now spouse), Paul Bates (Oha, the royal servant with the voice of an angel), and Vanessa Bell Calloway (Imani, Akeem’s would-be betrothed within the first film who memorably barks like a canine at his command). Time has been type to all these acquainted faces, who appear to be having enjoyable revisiting these characters.

However to borrow from a real-life queen – the Queen of Soul, because it have been – what’s there to say about Coming 2 America, a rehash with a convoluted, awkwardly rendered plot and a few actually backwards views? Nice robes. Stunning robes!

Severely, Ruth E. Carter, the masterful Oscar-winning costume designer behind among the biggest Black film seems to be in historical past (Do the Proper Factor, Malcolm X, What’s Love Acquired to Do With It, B*A*P*S, and Black Panther, to call only a few) once more pulls out all of the stops right here. Constructing upon Deborah Nadoolman Landis’s now-legendary designs for the unique movie, Carter – together with collaborators like Laduma Ngxokolo and Palesa Mokumbung, each from South Africa – has imagined resplendent patterns and equipment that bounce off the display and contextualize the characters even when the narrative storytelling falls flat. The colours are sometimes vibrant and decadent (see, as an example, a stunning shiny blue and gold-accented gown and headdress donned by Gladys Knight in a small cameo); the eye to element is sharp (in a extra environmentally-friendly nod to one among Akeem’s most imitated seems to be from the unique film, he wears a ceramic, gold-plated lion’s head on his swimsuit, connecting to a cape evoking a mane).

One may get simply get misplaced in a slideshow of all of the tableaus of gorgeous Black individuals trying regal. And a slideshow can be extra fascinating than Coming 2 America itself.

Nonetheless, as it is a movie evaluate and I assume there is a bit extra happening right here moreover lovely robes, you may as properly get a way of what exists of a narrative. So: Once we open up on Zamunda, King Joffer is on his demise mattress, and disgrace hangs over Akeem’s legacy as a result of he and Lisa have had three daughters and no sons – based on Zamunda regulation, solely males can inherit the throne. However alas! It is revealed Akeem has a son again in Queens, NY he by no means knew about, from a years-ago incident which occurred throughout that first go to to the U.S. In a single of some regressive facets of the film, the circumstances of this encounter with Mary (Leslie Jones) counsel Akeem was date-raped, however the film laughs it off and makes use of it because the catalyst for Akeem to attach together with his long-lost offspring, Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler), and produce him again to Zamunda to groom as his inheritor.

Oha (Paul Bates), Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) and Mary (Leslie Jones) in Coming 2 America.

 

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Oha (Paul Bates), Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) and Mary (Leslie Jones) in Coming 2 America.

 

Quantrell D. Colbert/Amazon Studios/Amazon Studios

 

Throw in Wesley Snipes as goofy warfare lord Normal Izzi, who is set to grow to be royalty by having his daughter (performed by the singer Teyana Taylor) marry Lavelle; Tracy Morgan as Lavelle’s caring uncle; and the barbershop guys (largely Murphy and Corridor, after all) who have gotten to be of their 90s at this level, offhandedly commenting on gentrification and #MeToo, and you have got … properly, you have bought nice robes, lovely robes!

There are some admittedly chuckle-worthy moments sprinkled all through, and any alternative to see Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate carry out is certain to be a deal with. However Coming 2 America‘s writers – Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield, who additionally penned the 1988 model; plus Kenya Barris and Justin Kanew – commit too readily to fan service and baldly reheat the best hits of quotes, whereas trying to modernize its themes by a slap-dash “feminist” lens. Kiki Layne, a revelation in If Beale Avenue Might Speak, performs Akeem’s oldest daughter Meeka, who resents the arrival of Lavelle and Zamunda’s archaic guidelines prohibiting girls rulers. She and her sisters are sometimes seen working towards or partaking in fight when not chiding their father for going together with sexist traditions, however wielding a stick and difficult dad on social mores don’t translate to the form of “empowerment” and progressivism the writers assume they do. In truth, many of the girls on this film appear to exist solely to push the boys of their lives to be higher and lower out the misogynist mess – it could be true to actual life, however even nonetheless, actual life girls have extra dimensions to their beings than Coming 2 America affords them to have.

Coming To America was not an ideal film – it trafficked in some cringe-worthy stereotypes around colorism, for one. However on the time of its launch, it did have a freshness and impressively excessive common of timeless jokes for a comedy, which helps clarify a part of why it has been so readily handed on from era to era. (Effectively, that and the truth that it was always in rotation on cable.) Murphy was at his peak. Corridor was on the cusp of his personal peak. Your entire ensemble was sport and dedicated to this impressed spin on a fish-out-of-water story.

This sort of artistic lightning not often strikes the identical place twice, and the fast hits of serotonin you could get from all of the nostalgia this new iteration is spewing will not be sufficient to cease you from questioning the identical factor you seemingly puzzled when the sequel was formally introduced a few years in the past: Who requested for this?

A minimum of we’ll at all times have Carter’s nice and delightful robes.

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Source: ’Coming 2 America’: The Costumes Are Stunning

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