TV Party Tonight! #92

TV Party Tonight! #92

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Coming to America
[4K/Blu-ray combo]

We’re kind of living in a special time where we get to witness Eddie Murphy’s comeback. I’m at that age where it’s hard for me to appreciate what a giant star he was in the 80s and 90s. His movies were simply huge, and it was almost as if he was the comedy version of Schwarzenegger’s action blockbusters. What I was unable to appreciate as a Gen X-er/Millenial is the subtlety and charm in Eddie Murphy’s performances that made them so special. The man simply dominated on screen. When did his star begin to fade? Hard to say. The Nutty Professor movies, maybe? But now the man is back, and I had somehow missed that a Coming to America sequel is coming. What a time to revisit the source material!

Coming to America is how I remember Eddie Murphy best. Not 48 hours, not Beverly Hills Cop. The splash Coming to America made when it came out was so big that we felt it in the tiny Caribbean island I grew up on. The movie was so immediately fascinating that I knew Eddie Murphys as the “Coming to America” guy, and even rewatching it for the first time 30 years later, it’s the clear that the jokes were so original and the story to impactful that I still remember all of it like I was back in high school. That’s a testament to any movie. The cast, the writing, the pacing, the bits, the setting, the backdrop, the beats, all work on such a level that this well-oiled machine of a movie remains a perfect purring engine three decades later. It’s the charm and ease in which Murphy plays the character, the perfect Robin to his Batman of Arsenio Hall, the wide scope of hilarious performances of these actors, and appeal of such a love story that make it work. Coming to America is as funny and compelling then as it should be now for a whole new generation.

It’s great that Paramount is giving such a classic a 4K release, and it comes with a great array of bonus features like behind the scenes, a making of, costume design, the character makeups, a sit-down with Eddie Murphy to discuss the movie and so much more. It would have been nice to get a commentary track by the director (like in Beverly Hills), but this is certainly not a requirement.

Coming to America remains a classic and a great movie after all these years. Hopefully this new rerelease will get it noticed by those who have missed it for so long. Again, Paramount has put out the definitive version of an essential movie.

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