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“Coming 2 America” proves that audience are still itching to see Eddie Murphy onscreen, no matter how long he takes between films. In a recent interview promoting “Coming 2 America,” Murphy bluntly explained why he stopped acting for so many years. “I was making shitty movies,” he said. “I was like, ‘This shit ain’t fun. They’re giving me Razzies…Motherfuckers gave me the ‘worst actor ever’ Razzie. [So I thought], ‘Maybe it’s time to take a break.”
The film, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on March 5, picks up 30-plus years after the original. Prince Akeem (Murphy) is happily married to Lisa (Shari Headley), and living in Zamunda with his wife and three daughters. After the death of his father, Prince Akeem heads back to Queens — only this time he’s searching for his long-lost son, and potential heir to the thrown of Zamunda.
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A native of Brooklyn, Murphy fell in love with comedy as a teenager, and honed his skills by listening to Richard Pryor albums. In the mid-‘70s, Murphy appeared in a talent show at the Roosevelt Youth Center, a gig he credited with launching his career. The amateur performance led to bookings at local comedy clubs. He made his “SNL” debut in 1980, though he wasn’t a cast member for long. Within two years, Murphy cut ties with “SNL,” and moved on to film.
For the better half of the last 40 years, Murphy has appeared in dozens of films, many of which he has also written. In 2019, Murphy returned to the small screen in the critically acclaimed “Dolemite Is My Name,” where he portrayed comic Rudy Ray Moore. Murphy’s “Dolemite” director Craig Brewer also helmed “Coming 2 America,” as IndieWire’s Eric Kohn noted in his review of the film. “Largely predicated on fan service even as it introduces some next-gen faces, the sequel embraces the same appeal of the original, though it rhymes its best gags with such precision that it rarely finds its own tune. Capably directed by Murphy’s ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ director Craig Brewer with a lively mix of dance numbers, a dense cameo list, and a neat set of intergenerational conflicts, ‘Coming 2 America’ derives most of its entertainment value from winking to the original.”
Besides rehashing his film career, Murphy plans to return to stand-up comedy (once the pandemic ends). In the meantime, we rounded up a list of 10 of Murphy’s films that you can stream right now, or purchase on Blu-ray. See our list below.
Martin Lawrence joins Murphy for a round of hijinks in this 1998 comedy classic. Directed by Ted Demme, “Life” is an entertaining but sobering story about two New Yorkers, Roy (Murphy) and Claud (Lawrence), who head down to Mississippi on a bootlegging mention. Things don’t go exactly as planned, and Roy and Claud end up wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in the Jim Crow south. Anthony Anderson, Bernie Mac, Obba Babatundé, and Miguel Nunez Jr., are featured among the all-star cast. “Life” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
This ’80s cop comedy catapulted Murphy to movie stardom. In “Beverly Hills Cops,” Murphy stars as Alex Foley, a young and rebellious Detroit cop investing a murder that takes him to Beverly Hills where he gets mixed up in a much deeper criminal enterprise. The film was so successful that it spawned two sequels, “Beverly Hills Cop II” and “Beverly Hills Cops III.” You can stream the “Beverly Hills Cop” trilogy on Amazon Prime Video. The films arrive on HBO Max on March 20.
If “Coming 2 America” has you nostalgic for the original, “Coming to America” is now streaming on Amazon Prime. The romantic comedy finds Prince Akeem trekking from Zamunda to Queens, New York, to find his one true love. “Coming to America,” was written by David Sheffield and Barry Blaustein (the duo also penned the sequel). Murphy came up with the storyline for the film, which reunited him with his “Trading Places” director John Landis.
Speaking of “Trading Places,” Murphy’s performance in the ‘80s comedy helped solidify his place as a film star. The film, now streaming on Hulu and Sling TV, revolves around a wealthy broker (Dan Aykroyd) and street hustler (Murphy) in an unconventional life swap. “Trading Places” may be one of Murphy’s more popular films, but he wasn’t the first comedian in line for the title role. An earlier incarnation of the film was being developed to star Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder (the film was scrapped after Pryor nearly killed himself in a freebasing incident).
It’s no secret that Murphy enjoys playing multiple characters at once, and he went into overdrive with the “Nutty Professor,” where he portrays six different characters including the lead and supporting characters. The film’s protagonist is a brainy, good-natured college professor who develops a weight loss potion in hopes of slimming down, and winning over his dream girl. The “Nutty Professor” is streaming on Amazon Prime.
“Dr. Dolittle” is a family friendly film option that’s entertaining for a range of age groups. The slapstick comedy stars Murphy as a veterinarian who discovers that he can communicate with animals. The film is a remake of the 1967 movie based off High Lofting’s children’s novels, which debuted a century ago. “Dr. Dolittle” is currently streaming on HBO Max, and Hulu.
Murphy was relatively new to the world of animated acting when the first “Shrek” film made its debut in 2000, having already finished his first animated role in “Mulan” two years earlier. Murphy’s performance as “Donkey” in “Shrek” further proved his ability to transfer his comedic timing and charm into animated characters. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that “Shrek” became one of the most successful animated film franchise in history. You can stream “Shrek” on Hulu, Sling TV, or Amazon Prime.
It’s easy to get lost among an all-star lineup of music powerhouses like Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, and Anika Noni Roise, but Murphy held his own in “Dreamgirls.” His formidable performance as James “Jimmy” Early earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. You can stream “Dreamgirls” on Amazon Prime.
In his first PG-13-rated film, Murphy stars as a wisecracking social worker that takes with probably one of the biggest responsibilities of his life. Murphy spends much of the film making sure that a young Tibetan boy deemed “The Golden Child” is protected at all costs, all the while cracking a few jokes in the process. The film plot unfolds on the backstreets of 1980s Los Angeles with Murphy in what used to be his signature leather ensembles made famous in his stand-up comedy specials, “Delirious,” and “Raw.”
Nick Nolte played the lead in the ‘80s buddy cop action drama “48 Hours.” The film, which was one of Murphy’s first roles after “Saturday Night Live,” went on to become one of the highest grossing films of 1982. You can stream “48 Hours” on Amazon Prime Video.