Eddie Murphy, Aresnio Hall and the rest of the gang are headed back to the mythical kingdom of Zamunda in "Coming 2 America," the long awaited sequel to the wildly popular 1988 comedy.

Fans of the original will be happy to know that the wait has been worth it, with the follow-up a lot fun - full of memorable cameos, lots of callbacks, and most importantly a lot of laughs. It's a credit to director Craig Brewer and the screenplay, credited to multiple writers, that they manage to maintain the spirit of the original while offering a fresh up-to-date spin.

This sequel finds Akeem (Murphy) now happily entrenched in his homeland with his wife Lisa (Shari Headley) and their three daughters. The eldest Meeka (Kiki Layne) has dreams of someday following her father as ruler of Zamunda, but laws require that the king be replaced by his first born son.

With no apparent heir, the kingdom is teetering on the edge of a hostile takeover from General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) - the leader of a neighboring kingdom who has his sights on extending into Zamunda.

Akeem finds a possible way to counter Izzi's threat, when he is told by his long time confidante Semmi (Hall) that he has a long lost son (Jermaine Fowler) in New York. Akeem sets out on a quest to find the son and bring him back to his homeland, to groom him as the possible heir and build a relationship.

I was not a fan of the original film, which I felt played a lot like an extended SNL sketch than a movie and lacked the charm needed in a successful romantic comedy, and entered this sequel with low expectations. Fortunately, the film exceeded those expectations within minutes - with some callbacks to the original and a couple of sight gags in the first few minutes that let me know right away this was not going to coast on the reputation of the original film.

Murphy and Hall are having a lot of fun, not just in their main roles but bringing back other characters from the original as well, but to Murphy's credit he takes a backseat a lot of the time - allowing the sequel to devote time to secondardy characters.

It's a move that pays off. You not only get hilarious supporting roles from Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan, as well as good comic work from Snipes, but "Coming 2 America" also allows newcomer Fowler and Layne to shine as well.

The story doesn't stray too far from formula, but Brewer (who also pulled off the remake of "Footloose") knows the strength is in his very funny cast and the audience's adoration for the first film - and plays from those strengths throughout.

My only regret with "Coming 2 America" is I didn't get the chance to see this in a full theater, experiencing the reactions of a crowd to the surprises and laughs.

This is a movie that would have played well in theaters. Fortunately it still has a chance to be seen - and appreciated - in the comfort of your home.

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