Friday, October 12, 2007
Coming to America
The first movie I watched was Coming to America by director John Landis. It is a comedy filmed in 1988, starring the outlandish Eddie Murphy. He played an African prince of a fictitious country. His character is spoiled by the riches of his family, and therefore does not know anything about what can be deemed as the "real world." Eddie Murphy's character has every need/wish granted at every moment, therefore producing a feeling that there is a lack of "substance" in his life. This idea is further seen when Murphy ventures into America (the main plot of the film) to find a woman of marriage quality; which is not like the subordinate women of his home country. I found it rather interesting that when someone (Murphy's character) of such stature and protected-elite upbringing is even depicted as a person who is having inner conflicts between the morality of his ethical foundations. He could, for instance, have found nothing wrong with the "mindless" bride-to-be his parents presented him with; but instead chose challenge the thoughts of his prestigious family--venturing into a world of havoc. The film portrays the problems prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) has adjusting to America, and turns the idea of a non-worldly individual into scenes of comedic laughter (ie. the scene with the curly hair gel). I also would like to point out how the ideas of cultural relativism come into play as a strong theme throughout this movie. Although Murphy's quick remarks and angles on comedic scenes are unprecedented; it is eerie to see the effects of such an "outsider" trying to adjust to chaos that is New York. The whole movie is about Akeem's plight for a "normal" wife, while he tries to adapt to the cultural "melting pot." The only thing that really did disappoint me with the film was the choice of employment for Murphy's character: a fast food joint. The restaurant was made to be a private business competitor with the globalized chain that is McDonalds. I know the choice to place his character in such a position was because they wanted to take him out of his "comfort zone" and have Eddie's character being the call-slave to others, since he had probably never been in that position before in his life. But honestly, could we represent the stereotyped trends of obesity in America any better? Maybe I have to take a step back and realized that it was filmed in 1988, but still, couldn't he have worked at some where else of servitude characteristics--like a clothing store? But overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Great comedic timing, and a plot that asks, "what more could he really not know?"