The original Coming to America came out during a very different time. For one thing, back in 1988 it wasn’t too unusual for an R-rated movie to make a dumptruck of money. There were a lot more R movies back then! The cinema of 2021 leans heavily towards PG-13 — not so blue that large demographics can’t watch it, but not too family-friendly either. So when Coming 2 America wound up downgraded to a PG-13, there was some concern. But its director says there’s a good reason for a slightly cleaner sequel.
Craig Brewer — who’s no stranger to R movies, including his last picture with Eddie Murphy, the gleefully dirty Dolemite is My Name — was speaking to The Wall Street Journal (in a bit teased out by The Hollywood Reporter) when the subject of the rating came up. Brewer said it wasn’t like they weren’t allowed to go R had they wanted to.
“If an R-rated movie would work then we would do an R-rated movie,” Brewer explained. “I think we still have a really hilarious movie and we do push the boundaries on a PG-13 movie here and there. If you look at the first movie, other than the gratuitous nudity of the bathers and some swearing, it is actually rather wholesome. It’s got a fairytale feel to it.”
It’s true, the original Coming to America isn’t a terribly hard R, even if two of its most famous bits — the bathers and the trash mouthed cabbie who picks them up at the airport — only work with the more mature rating. If Murphy decides to once again team with the director of Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan — two of Brewer’s other, also very R movies — there’s every chance they’ll again go blue.