14/02/2011

Forgotten Gem: Coming To America (1988)

When looking back on Eddie Murphy's decidedly mixed career, obviously it's his earlier work most remember fondly. Both 48 Hours and Trading Places are quality comedies that gave Murphy perfect low-key co-stars to bounce off of while he was allowed to run riot in the flawless, timeless and endlessly funny Beverly Hills Cop. But one film that never seems to get a mention is Coming To America which reunited Murphy with John Landis and teamed him up with the other American black icon of the 80s, Arsenio Hall. 


NOTE: I'd like to point out that the quality of that trailer does not reflect the quality of the film.

Since this was the 1980s and Murphy could do whatever he liked, it was perfectly acceptable to invent an African country called Zamunda and have giraffes running around because, y'know, it's Africa and giraffes are to them what goldfish are to us. But it's easy to look over those little indiscretions because it doesn't take itself seriously and everyone involved seems happy to collectively bask in the foolishness. Special mention should go to the dulcet toned Mr James Earl Jones who plays Prince Akeem's (Murphy) father, His Majesty King Jaffe–Joffer of Zamunda and walks around with the kind of irrepressible gravitas most could only dream off. 

It would be remiss of me not to mention the legendary Soul-Glo running gag that highlights the rather distressing 80s hair trend known as jheri-curl. If you Googled hard enough you could probably find a spike in the amount of destroyed sofas during it's the heyday of the hair product because it was greasy as hell. The theme song is a bit of an earworm so if you don't want to be singing it all day, do not press play.