While Coming 2 America received a mixed reception, the combination of Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall was praised. Their chemistry has helped lead the film to becoming the most streamed film of 2021 so far. Murphy and Hall’s scenes as Akeem and Semmi's scenes were probably some of the most anticipated for fans, especially since Coming 2 America marked Hall’s return to the big screen after a few years. Now, Hall has revealed what he’s most proud of in the sequel.
In recent years, Arsenio Hall has been in demand as a stand-up comedian, so his return to film was anticipated. But Coming 2 America meant more to the comedian than just getting back to the big screen. On the importance of Coming 2 America, he said:
The most important thing is making the audience laugh, and it definitely will, but the thing I’m most proud of is that while you’re laughing, there’s a wonderful message that comes through. That men in power, and our bullshit, has to change. That how we treat women has to change. This movie sneaks that message in on you.
But as Hall also pointed out, the Coming to America sequel had to represent the times, especially during an age of reckoning for old mindsets and institutions. Seeing the female characters take center stage was great especially with newcomers such as Kiki Layne and Eddie Murphy's own daughter, Bella, in the mix. The storyline between Layne and Murphy was a huge signifier of that change. Leslie Jones’ performance was a major highlight in the sequel, despite that problematic flashback sequence with Murphy. Still, the film's message mostly shines through.
As a fan of the original film, I honestly believe Semmi was probably the best character. Arsenio Hall stole every scene he was in, especially the club scene in which he and Eddie Murphy meet with multiple women. Unfortunately, Hall didn't wasn't featured quite as much in Coming 2 America, compared to the original. He did make the most of his time as, much like Murphy, Hall can transform into any character while keeping up the pace and timing of a big-scale film. All in all, Hall performed well in his various roles, but I can't help but wish there were more Akeem-Semmi interactions in the sequel.
With Coming 2 America's message of female empowerment and Eddie Murphy's mention of another sequel, it would be nice to see more of KiKi Layne’s character next time around. As seen in the ending, the future of Zamunda will be female, after all. And at the same time, let's also hope Arsenio Hall gets to reprise his fan-favorite role one more time.
Coming 2 America is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime.