Coming To America (1988)

JOHN LANDIS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  

USA, 1988Paramount Pictures, Eddie Murphy Productions.  Directed by .  Story by , Screenplay by , .  Cinematography by , .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , George Folsey Jr.  

An African prince (Eddie Murphy) finds none of the marriageable women in his kingdom, turned off by the immediate servitude that is offered by the women seeking his hand and believing that he must live life and “sow his royal oats” before settling down.  He grabs his personal servant () and heads to Queens (because where else would one find one), descending upon a rough New York City neighbourhood in all his princely glory and never losing his delightful pluck despite all the difficulties that come his way (the shot of his suitcases being stolen is one of the film’s funniest).  The boys get a job at a local fast food joint and Murphy falls in love with the owner’s daughter (Shari Headly) but she is already dating the wealthy son of a hair-product fortune (Eriq la Salle), as America has its own version of royalty and it has more to do with commerce than noble birth.  This very enjoyable fish-out-of-water comedy succeeds because of the effortless charm of its star and the high quality of its production values, including fantastic makeup effects by Rick Baker (Murphy and Hall play a whole assortment of roles) and beautiful costume work by director John Landis’s wife Deborah Nadoolman. Colourful and funny, it’s one of Murphy’s best efforts from the eighties.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Makeup; Best Costume Design

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