Coming to America ★★★½

Eddie Murphy and John Landis team up again for the royal fish-out-of -water comedy, "Coming to America." With Murphy's genial lead performance, Landis's steady direction, and an engaging story, the film makes for an appealing experience.

Murphy plays Prince Akeem of Zamunda, an African nation steeped in tradition. When tradition calls for Akeem to marry shortly after his 21rst birthday, he balks and travels to America to sow his royal oats. The set-up leads to a solidly funny story that Landis allows to take its time developing. Full of memorable characters, many of whom are played by Murphy and Arsenio Hall, the narrative weaves together culture-clash comedy with a touch of romance.

Murphy gives a controlled performance, but his Akeem is full of Murphy's standard charisma. The actor is, however, able to let loose under Rick Baker's awards-worthy makeup as characters of other ages and ethnicities. Hall makes a strong sidekick, and the rest of the cast is well placed.

As with "Trading Places," Landis and Murphy's earlier pairing, "Coming to America" is not a lean comedy. The film never wears out its welcome but feels full, leaning toward overstuffed. The stuffing is all part of the fun, though, and Landis keeps things moving steadily forward even if there are comic digressions from the core narrative.

Full of late-1980s fun, "Coming to America" is a well-assembled, highly satisfying comedy. Murphy's charm and Landis's surehandedness combine to deliver a film that is colorful and enjoyable.

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