How was John Landis’ 1988 film Coming to America? Meh. It wasn’t good; it wasn’t bad. It was just meh.
An average PG-rated romantic comedy disguised as an R-rated Eddie Murphy vehicle (drops a couple F-bombs and shows some boobs to pack in the kids), the movie is a far cry from the raucous work of Landis’ Animal House or Trading Places. Production values, however, are all top-notch with some nice looking costumes and scenery.
A fairly standard take on the fish out of water story, the film follows Prince Akeem (Murphy) and Semmi (Arsenio Hall) as they come to New York looking for a worthy wife for Akeem. Where in New York would you find such a woman? Well, Queens, of course!
The highlight of the movie is the make-up effects by Rick Baker. His genius transforms Murphy and Hall into multiple characters throughout the film. (This is just a taste of what Baker and Murphy offer in The Nutty Professor.) Murphy and Hall are much more interesting in these minor roles than they are as the film’s leads.
The bad fashions of the late 80s were distracting and I kept thinking to myself, “Did we really dress like that?” Dr. Huxtable sweaters and balloon mini-skirts make it look like Flashdance exploded all over the cast.