Any countdown to Valentine's Day would be incomplete without a film in which one of the characters has been forced into an arranged engagement by his or her parents. Since this is a much less common phenomenon in contemporary American culture, filmmakers need to identify plausible countries where such practices may still occur. In 1988's "Coming to America," we get just such a set-up.
In "Coming to America," Eddie Murphy plays the wealthy and over-indulged Prince Akeem, who lives in a fictional African country called Zamunda. Thanks to his snobbish royal parents, he is engaged to marry a woman he has never met. When he finally does meet her, Akeem feels no connection, in spite of her good looks and royal background. He travels to New York with his sidekick, Semmi (played by Arsenio Hall). Here, they move into a small apartment and try to live like working-class people. Akeem hopes to meet a woman he likes and who will like him for his personality, not his royal wealth. He gets a job at a fast food restaurant and falls for the owner's daughter, Lisa (played by Shari Headley). But she is already in a relationship with an obnoxious boyfriend.
"Coming to America" has a lot of laughs. One of the funniest scenes is early in the film when Akeem meets the woman he is engaged to marry. She has been trained to be the perfect wife for him. But he finds she is not able to be herself.
Eddie Murphy is great in the film. As he has done in a lot of his other movies, Murphy plays multiple characters, and he does good work as all of them. Arsenio Hall is also strong as his loyal companion. Like Murphy, he plays several characters.
"Coming to America" is a must-see for fans of Eddie Murphy.