Coming to America

I hadn’t seen Coming to America for years, so when I saw it on last night as I was flipping around, I paused. I remember enjoying the movie, but I couldn’t recall why. (Part of it was my brother’s uncanny ability to say “That’s beautiful, what is that…velvet?” just exactly right.)

What surprised me about the movie was the overall moral of the story – here’s this prince who can literally have anything he wants, and is, in fact, given a wife who’s been raised to know everything about him and to serve him. I have a problem with this, and so does the prince. He doesn’t want to be forced into marriage with a woman who quite literally cannot think in any way other than how to please him. If he is to be with someone, he wants her to have a mind of her own, who has proven herself intelligent and capable of challenging him along with herself. So he goes in search of said person.

There were, of course, things glaringly wrong with the movie, but I was SO pleased with this overall message that I was much more forgiving of those things. 


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    That is the sort of message that could make you overlook a lot of flaws. I’ve always been deeply disturbed by the apparent reality that some men are perfectly at ease with a selfless automaton who’s been raised from girlhood to think only of what will make boys like her, get some man to marry her, and keep him – maybe even faithful!

    I know all men aren’t like that, but the fact that humanity managed to put together a system that promoted that kind of panicked devotion goes not give me much hope for humanity.

  2. sbg says

    By contrast, Akeem’s (the prince) servant was astounded throughout that he was so willing to look a gift horse in the mouth. He thought the prince was nuts for wanting more than a mindless person to do his bidding. Every chance he got, he tried to regain the level of privilege he was used to.

  3. scarlett says

    Well the main problem I had with the movie was that after the girl says she doesn’t want to upheave her entire life to be an African princess – something I thought was absolutely awesome, a very much in line with the Prince’s desire to have a woman who had her own life and thought for herself – next thing we know, she’s married him anyway, with no explaination in between. What, suddenly she decided that untold riches were worth whatever she had to give up? Not to mention all the restrictions that would have come with being a head of state – I know it’s something I wouldn’t want. I realise it wasn’t a priority in the grand scheme of storytelling, but it was something that bugged me.

  4. Ifritah says

    I recall the movie very vaguely… I do remember a woman trying to prove herself as a queen candidate by barking like a dog as she hopped on one foot.

  5. SLW2004 says

    What bothers me about the movie is not the movie but Eddie Murphy. He’s been around for so long and he never bothered me but then Paramount was showing a stand-up of his from the 80s, so I decided to watch it- it was so horrible. It was so misogynist I actually started to fear for any woman he knew/knows. Also the stuff that he’s (allegedly) said about Scary Spice (i.e. “It’s not mine, she sleeps around.”) makes me wonder if he’s any different now. I mean I’m not saying that she doesn’t, I’m just saying it bothers me.

    The question becomes, of course, can you like a show or movie if the person in front of or behind the camera shows any qualities/beliefs you find offensive?

  6. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’m not familiar with the Scary Spice comments, but I think it’s sufficient to deny paternity without offering an, ahem, “alternate theory”. When men feel the need to cast aspersions on the woman as well, it shows a distinct lack of class that makes me more likely to believe the woman.

    The question becomes, of course, can you like a show or movie if the person in front of or behind the camera shows any qualities/beliefs you find offensive?

    Sometimes it does get in the way. I have no moral qualms about it – I’ve never advocated boycotting a show or film because I think that’s a personal choice. But sometimes when I know too much about someone’s offensive personal beliefs, it just turns me off to them.

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