Coming to America

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Coming to America is a 1988 American comedy film directed by John Landis. The screenplay was written by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein, from a story by Eddie Murphy, who also stars in the film. Murphy plays an African prince, who heads to the United States in hopes of finding a woman he can marry. Coming to America is the first of several films in which Murphy plays multiple characters.



Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the prince and heir to the throne of the fictitious African country Zamunda, is discontented with being pampered all his life. The final straw comes when his parents, King Jaffe (James Earl Jones) and Queen Aeoleon (Madge Sinclair), present him with a bride-to-be (Vanessa Bell) he has never met before, trained to mindlessly obey his every command.

Akeem concocts a plan to travel to America to find a wife he can both love and respect and who accepts him for himself, not his status. He and his servant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in Queens, New York City, because according to Akeem "What better place to find a queen than the city of Queens?" They rent an apartment in the neighborhood of Jamaica and begin working at a local restaurant called McDowell's (restaurateur Cleo McDowell's attempt to copy McDonald's), passing themselves off as foreign students.

Akeem falls in love with McDowell's daughter Lisa (Shari Headley), who possesses the qualities the prince is looking for. The rest of the film centers on Akeem's attempts to win Lisa's hand in marriage, while adjusting to life in America and dodging his royal duties and prerogatives. Unfortunately, Semmi is not comfortable with the life of a poor man and thus unintentionally causes a near-disaster when, alerted by Semmi's plea for more financial help, the Zamundian royal couple travels to the United States and reveal themselves to the McDowells.

Although her father is ecstatic that his daughter has attracted the interest of a prince, Lisa, who has fallen for Akeem, becomes angry and confused as to why he lied to her about his identity. She refuses to marry Akeem, and he returns to Zamunda with a broken heart, resigned to marry the woman chosen for him by his parents. At the final scene's wedding procession, Akeem waits dejectedly at the altar as his bride-to-be makes her way down the aisle. But when he lifts the veil to kiss her, he finds Lisa instead of his arranged bride. They ride off happily in a carriage after the ceremony with Akeem offering to give up their royal privileges if she so chose. At this, Lisa playfully declines.


Alex Rodriguez appeared as the boy with his hands over his ears in the holdup scene at McDowell's restaurant.

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