Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America

Coming 2 America is one of 2021’s anticipated films. But the anticipation was somewhat dampened over fans’ reaction to the film’s PG-13 rating. Along with the original cast’s return and new additions, Craig Brewer took over the director’s chair for John Landis, who directed the original Coming to America. Despite reservations over the PG-13 rating, Brewer explained why he’s happy about the sequel’s rating.

To say the hype for Coming 2 America has increased by the day is an understatement. So much is riding on this sequel, especially being a follow-up to a classic and cherished comedy. Every trailer has increased the anticipation for the film (thanks to the direction of Craig Brewer). Yahoo! News recently interviewed Brewer about the anticipating sequel. He was asked about the film’s PG-13 rating, prompting the director to say:

Eddie and I had a lot of discussions about this because the bathers primarily pushed it into [an] R [rating] and then nowadays you can say the F word only a certain amount of times. But otherwise "Coming to America" occupies a completely different place than any of the other Eddie Murphy movies like Trading Places and 48 Hrs.

Once he spoke on his discussion with Eddie Murphy, Craig Brewer revealed why the sequel’s rating is different compared to the original. He even responded to fans’ reaction on social media:

It's more of a fairy tale. It's not particularly crude or vulgar in any way. I noticed people on Twitter being like, ‘Oh my God, this movie's PG-13. What have they done?’ The reality is the more we tested it, the jokes that landed were the ones that stayed there, and it came out PG-13. We weren't given [instructions that] ‘it better be PG-13.’ We did all different kinds of jokes and it landed in a sweet place. I'm actually happy it's PG-13.

Craig Brewer’s words on Coming 2 America’s film rating spoke to keeping the original’s sensibilities while having a broad appeal. The fact he and Eddie Murphy did it unconsciously without input from the studio made the PG-13 rating more organic. As Brewer pointed out, Coming to America (and its sequel) have occupied a different space in the public lexicon. So, an R-rating in 1988 and a PG-13 rating in 2021 are essentially the same.

With Coming 2 America’s release just days away, Craig Brewer, Eddie Murphy and others have pointed out the importance of the original film. Newcomer Tracy Morgan revealed how the original film helped him get over a family tragedy. Murphy explained why Coming to America remained important and impactful within Black American culture, including Black barbershops. But some of the film’s legacy has been problematic in retrospect as original star Vanessa Bell Calloway revealed her skin tone caused her to lose out on the female lead role.

But despite these revelations, Coming 2 America’s PG-13 rating proves how the culture, as well as the film industry, has progressed since the original film was released. Craig Brewer and Eddie Murphy made the sequel not just for old fans but for new fans to enjoy. Coming 2 America will arrive on Prime Video on Mar. 5.

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