January 22, 2010

Coming to America - 1988

Director: John Landis
Writers: Eddie Murphy, David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, John Amos, James Earl Jones, Louie Anderson, Samuel L. Jackson

"I am a man who has never tied his own shoes before!"
"Wrong. You are a PRINCE who has never tied his shoes. Believe me. I tied my own shoes once. It is an overrated experience."
In this film, an African prince (Murphy) fed up with his lavish life, decides on the eve of his arranged marriage to travel to America with his servant Semmi (Hall) to find a bride that "raises both [his] intellect and [his] loins." After flipping a coin to decide if they're going to New York City or Los Angeles, they scour a map to determine what part of the city is best for locating a woman fit for a king. Why, Queens, of course!

This film is fantastic. Director John Landis is never one to disappoint, and Coming to America is no exception. Maybe it's just because he's done it time and time again (with progressively worse results), but this first team-up of Eddie Murphy playing multiple roles and Rick Baker's makeup wizardry is bar none head and shoulders above the rest. Both Murphy and Hall have four distinct roles in the film (most notably an old white Jewish man played brilliantly by Murphy), and any scene involving the old barbers is bound to elicit belly laughs. My one fault with the film lies in the costume design, as the Zamundan crowns and jewelry look like something a little kid could make by gluing random things together, but in light of the Nutty Professor franchise, Dr. Doolittle, Holy Man, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, and Norbit, it's a relatively minor issue.

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