Craig Brewer, the filmmaker behind the upcoming Eddy Murphy sequel Coming 2 America, has explained why the film is rated PG-13 and not R. Despite the success of 1989’s R-rated Coming to America, the decision not to obtain the same rating was made quite early on and is something that has greatly disappointed many fans of the original.
At the time of its release, few people knew just what to expect from Coming to America. Murphy was already a major star at the time, and he was widely known for comedy that had very little to do with family-friendly material. It could certainly be argued that this was one of the major reasons behind Murphy’s wild success as a comedian – he wasn’t afraid to say just what he felt, and, of course, just what he felt wasn’t always appropriate for all-age audiences. But the release of Coming to America showed a different side to the SNL alum’s range, giving credence along the way to the idea that Murphy was more than just a hilarious comedian whose live shows and films were peppered with profanity and nudity. Murphy could actually act, and his ability to take on a variety of characters in the fish-out-of-water tale came as a big surprise to most when they saw the film.
Once the sequel to Coming to America was officially confirmed, news of its rating came shortly after production completed. Its PG-13 rating surprised and annoyed many, but as Uproxx reports, Brewer recently told The Wall Street Journal this was exactly the rating that the production was after. Apparently, the goal never was to make an R-rated film, because even the original felt like a fairy-tale, despite the swearing and nudity, of course. In that sense, Coming 2 America fits nicely alongside its predecessor. Brewer said:
If an R-rated movie would work then we would do an R-rated movie. 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 fairy-tale feel to it.
Brewer does have a point about the original, in that it isn’t really so risqué or downright offensive that it merited an R-rating. There were several short scenes with nudity and at times there is some adult language, but overall it’s pretty tame for an R-rated film. If Coming 2 America does indeed push the boundaries of what a PG-13 film can be, then perhaps there’s enough within it to satisfy those who feel truly slighted by the fact that the sequel didn’t get hit with an R-rating. Then again, assuring audiences that the new film is on par with the original could just be a method to attract those who’ve written it off.
Ultimately, Coming 2 America has much potential to be great. The cast is filled with talent and Murphy’s been in need of the right comedic project for years now. This could very well be that project, but if it turns out to be little more than a watered down version of the original for a family demographic, then the long-awaited sequel could be a write-off.