A film review by Sean A. Simmons
Hailing from the wealthy and luxurious African country, Zamunda, we follow our royal protagonist on a new journey as he revisits his past. On the 30th anniversary of Akeem and Lisa’s (king and queen) marriage, Prince Akeem is summoned before his dying father. King Jaffe Joffer relays his concerns about Akeem only having daughters, as he must meet the demands of Zamundian tradition, requiring him to have a male heir to the throne. Thanks to the rather shocking news from the royal shaman, Baba, it is revealed that Prince Akeem has an illegitimate son. The prince reminisces with his confidante Semmi about their crazed search for a proper queen decades ago, and fumble through their memories only to recall meeting women at a nightclub and journeying back to their abode for a night of drug-induced debauchery. On another note, the prince’s kingdom is beset by possible hostile takeover by General Izzi of Nexdoria. The General proposes that Prince Akeem’s eldest daughter join his rather vain and superficial son in matrimony in order to bring peace between the two countries. With that option leaving him to grimace, the prince returns once more to the bustling streets of modern day Queens, New York in search of his son and future heir to the throne.
In Queens, the prince and his confidante are reunited with their barbershop pals from long ago. Akeem pops the question concerning the whereabouts of his son, revealing that his name is Lavelle Junson, known for his day-to-day attempts to gather wealth, ticket scalping in Madison Square Garden. Akeem searches the area and sure enough, he is united with his newfound offspring, much to Lavelle’s surprise, reveals that he is son to an African king and heir to the throne. The trio return to Lavelle’s home, to bring the new to his immediate family, later returning to Zamunda with his son and his mother Mary.
Lavelle is taken aback by the luxurious candor of the palace, the allure of the female aide at his beck and call, as well as the customs and normalities of Zamundian civilization. Though cautious, he heeds his mothers words to just “roll with it, be a prince.” Lavelle is introduced, rather hastily, to General Izzi’s daughter, Bopoto, whom he quickly becomes infatuated with and agrees to marry, marking the beginning of his quest to the throne. Lavelle starts to enjoy the customs of Zamunda and realizes that he may be in over his head when faced with the rigorous challenges of becoming a prince. With some loving advice from some unlikely allies, Lavelle is able to conquer the tests and move forward with the coronation and marriage. After walks and talks with his royal groomer Mirembe, he sees that they have much in common, and after a surprise kiss, Mirembe realizes that she has made a mistake and flees. Lavelle speaks with Bopoto at the royal celebration but is less than enthralled as he discovers that they are virtually incompatible and have nothing in common. He later overhears King Akeem and General Izzi speaking about the arrangement and feels betrayed by his father and he returns to Queens with his family and his bride-to-be, Mirembe. After discovering the Lavelle is gone, Akeem hurries to Queens, making it in time to stop the wedding, but after a warm exchange of words, he sees himself in his son and remembers what it is like to follow your heart. Akeem is moved by his sons’ fortitude and his love for Mirembe and accepts their arrangement. The crew returns to Zamunda for a proper wedding ceremony, and the rest is history.
This film is a heartwarming tale of strangers finding love in the most unlikely of places, embracing the differences of those around them, doing what they believe. This story has reminded us all to not judge others based on appearance or background, social status, or beliefs. It served as a reminder to follow your heart, trust in love, and to never give up, despite the circumstances. This film receives the highest of honors and was an absolutely breathtaking experience. This film is one to share with friends, family and those who share the same ideals. And to those who may not share the same ideals, give this one a try. You never know, it might just change your mind.