Coming to America – Movie Review | Does It Hold Up Today?

With the new long-overdue sequel coming out
next Friday on Prime Video, I figured we would
go back to this classic film and see if it
still holds up to this day.
Let’s get right into the review!
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Today we are talking about an essential 80’s
classic with “Coming to America.”
It is directed by John Landis, starring Eddie
Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John
Amos, Madge Sinclair & Shari Headley.
In case you don’t know the plot of this movie,
it is essentially about a pampered African
prince who travels to Queens, New York, and
goes undercover to find a wife he can respect
for her intelligence and strong will.
“Coming to America” is one of those films
growing up I had seen only once on tv.
It is edited down quite poorly, taking away
many of the great jokes in the movie.
After all, these years later, I finally watched

/> it again with the new 4K transfer released
in December.
I have to say I appreciate and enjoy this
movie way more than before.
A big reason for this is that many comedy
movies I watched as a teenager were very dumb,
cheesy, and stupid movies.
I still think most of them are even funny
to this day.
“Coming to America” fits those categories,
but it’s well-written screenplay, fantastic
pacing, and well-told story make it stand
out from the rest.
So let’s dive right into the positives starting
with the acting.
The acting is terrific in this movie.
Like really good for a comedy movie.
Eddie Murphy knocks it right out of the park
as one of his most iconic career performances.
In interviews, Murphy stated that he wanted
to play a totally different character after
his past few films where he said he was playing
He took on the challenge of even playing a
few other iconic roles in the movie.
He sold me on this character being an extremely
likable, spoiled prince that wanted to do
something for himself—his positivity and
charm light up the screen in every moment
of the film.
James Earl Jones is perfect in this movie,
playing Akeem’s father.
James Earl Jones’s voice talent is so fantastic
that he can sell any line in any film.
His overly serious performance makes for some
of the most laugh-out-loud jokes.
Arsenio Hall, being his servant and friend,
is perfect, along with Shari Headley.
The chemistry between Murphy and Headly is
great which they felt so natural together.
They had the best parts of the film.
The story is so iconic that it has been copied
and emulated a few times since.
A man from a foreign country wants to find
his own way of life as he travels to a brand
new country, learning the paths of their culture,
and hopes to find love along the way.
The writing is great in this movie, being
a wholly memorable and iconic movie.
It is laugh-out-loud hilarious, with some
of my favorite jokes in a silly comedy movie.
The film is very aware of itself being very
silly and goofy, but I never found the dialogue
to feel forced or annoying in any way.
The movie feels very natural in a wholesome,
mature, and extended way.
The movie takes its time to explore these
characters, leading to slower pacing than
we are used to seeing in more contemporary
comedy films.
It threw me off guard, especially in the first
20 minutes, but I found myself getting used
to it and enjoying it so much more because
I could take in all the scenery, dialogue,
and performances in a much more satisfying
The costume and makeup are so damn great that
they were nominated for Oscars for each of
their categories, respectively.
This is an overlooked accomplishment because
the filmmakers created their own culture of
this fictional place of Zamunda.
So the costume designers and makeup artists
got very creative in how they wanted the characters
to look, which made for hilarious jokes and
set the realism of this fictional world of
Zamunda to be real even when they are in America.
This movie is also very well shot with also
having great editing.
I bring this up because silly dumb comedy
movies usually have some of the most annoying
shot compositions with terrible editing.
I think this movie looks very competent and
has a great flow to the film that never distracted
It didn’t blow me away or anything, but it
shows Landis and this team worked extra hard
to make this movie’s presentation as great
as possible.
This film does have its share of negatives,
starting with the jokes.
I think this is a hysterical film with some
laugh out loud iconic jokes, but there are
a handful of jokes that don’t land for me
or just feel redundant.
One of them being the weird old guys Eddie
Murphy and Asernario Hall play.
Those characters are funny, but their jokes
go on for way too long, feeling very redundant,
and get old very quickly.
Some people may think the redundancy is very
funny, but I couldn’t have gone without it.
While this movie is very simple and straightforward,
the film is very predictable and cheesy.
You know how everything will play out without
having too many twists and turns throughout
the story.
I think there could have been more they did
with the concept as a whole.
Speaking of doing more, my biggest complaint
I have with this movie is that John Landis
and the crew chose to make this movie completely
colorblind, with 97% of the cast being black.
The whole film is about black excellence.
In history, black people in America have been
oppressed, so having this man from Africa
explore New York with the film showing black
people struggling in poverty should have been
made into a small portion of the film that
could progress his character more into giving
into the community.
The most significant comparison of this is
Wakanda in Black Panther.
Obviously, those movies are entirely different,
but very similar in black royalty coming to
America and seeing how poor and mistreated
they are.
The movie is about Akeem coming to America
to find himself a wife and learn and understand
a brand new culture highlighted in American
I think him learning about this and understanding
that he is a rich black man who is unheard
of would significantly grow his character.
It would only be in a small section of the
film to push this movie into a great movie
instead of a good movie.
Overall, this is an essential 1980s romantic
comedy film that everyone has to see at least
once in their lifetime.
It is an iconic movie that everyone knows
is very influential on the American culture.
It has tremendous acting, solid writing, an
entertaining story, and a high rewatchability
factor that you can always put on no matter
the time of day.
I positively give this movie a watch and buy
the new 4k because it is an excellent transfer.
I am giving “Coming to America” a seven out
of ten.
Have you seen “Coming to America”?
If so, what did you think of it, and are you
excited for the new sequel coming out next
I want to know all of this down below in the
comment section.
As always, I will see you all in the next

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