Coming to America

Director: John Landis
Year Released: 1988
Rating: 1.5

Pampered Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) - from the fictional nation of Zamunda - tells his parents he wants to go to America to find an intelligent and independent-minded bride, so he ends up in Queens, NY with his friend/enabler Semmi (Arsenio Hall), living in squalor and working at a burger restaurant (owned by John Amos' entrepreneur). Combines several traditional setups (fish-out-of-water meets pauper-in-disguise meets men-competing-for-a-girl) and seems determined to strip Murphy of his caustic bite (he's too forcibly 'nice' and it feels fake): the bits with Murphy and Hall in layers of makeup arguing with each other (and even themselves) are clever and the only genuine standout moments of humor. The sole thing I found fascinating about it, on a barely-subtextual level, is how the Eriq La Salle character uses racial taunts against Murphy, inferring all of Africa is underdeveloped and primal in nature ... but otherwise, it's bumbling and inconsequential.