Coming 2 America: A Non-Review Review

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall star in COMING 2 AMERICA. Photo: Quantrell D. Colbert. © 2020 Paramount Pictures.

The highly anticipated Coming 2 America arrives on Amazon Prime Video with a number of not-funny jokes and date rape as a plot device.

Maybe it was for the best that this sequel bypassed theaters for Amazon Prime Video.  Or maybe it was for the best that the press screener also had video lag.  It means thankfully not having to spend all afternoon and evening being angry.  I’m just going to cut straight to the case here: Please stop using rape/date rape as a plot device.  Rape is not nor has ever been funny in a comedy.  And yet this film only exists because Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) was the victim of date rape by Mary Junson (Leslie Jones).  Let me say this again: the existence of Coming 2 America relies on rape.  Male rape is no less problematic than when a woman gets raped.  I didn’t watch Bridgerton but that’s a recent example of male rape currently streaming on Netflix.

Beyond this, you have a transgender joke that shows filmmakers also didn’t run the script by GLAAD.  This joke is spoken during the barbershop scene.  I was so disgusted that I didn’t take note of which barber said it.

“I’ve got one granddaughter that used to be my grandson. They can turn your penis into a vagina now.”

If filmmakers had run the script by GLAAD, they would know that the barber’s granddaughter was always his granddaughter.  For one, this is a lazy joke.  Honestly, the joke is not even funny.  Also, this joke is hack material at best.  The screenwriter team includes Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, and David Sheffield.  Eddie Murphy is one of the film’s producers so the buck ultimately stops with him.  Interviewers need to challenge talent and filmmakers on the press tour.  Why do filmmakers and actors think this is okay?  It is not okay.  If you actually hire transgender talent and crew, the transphobia would not happen!

This ends my non-review review of Coming 2 America.  I’m certainly beyond disgusted with these two scenes alone.  I’d usually talk about more of the film but honestly, this film stops existing after the transphobic joke.  Using date rape as a plot device is bad enough.  But then once you get to the barbershop scene, you wonder why this is happening!  The transgender community should not be used as a punchline.  It’s already bad enough that you have Republicans in state legislatures and Congress seeking to prevent trans youth from being able to play sports.  Can I watch a comedy where the trans community is not being used as a punchline?  Is this really too much to ask for?  Please!

Amazon also needs to answer here.  One would assume that they watched the film.  So did anyone at Amazon think about the film using date rape as a plot device?  Or the casual transphobia at the barbershop?  I’m going to assume the answer is no.  Either way, using rape as the basis for the film’s premise is inexcusable!

The casual transphobia and date rape being used as a plot device in Coming 2 America is indefensible.  Hollywood needs to learn to do better.  Enough is enough.

DIRECTOR:  Craig Brewer
SCREENWRITERS:  Kenya Barris and Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield
CAST:  Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, with Wesley Snipes and James Earl Jones, John Amos, Teyana Taylor, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Paul Bates, Nomzamo Mbatha, Bella Murphy

Coming 2 America is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.