Time: 104 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup.
SYNOPSIS: A pampered African prince journeys incognito to Queens, New York, to find a bride who will love him just for himself.
BOTTOM LINE: An enjoyable, though somewhat dated, prince out of water tale that shows Murphy doesn't have to be foul-mouthed to be funny. The precursor to his multi-character turns in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR et al, Murphy shows his softer side as the heir to an African throne looking for his true love in Queens, New York. Rather than settle on the perfect bride picked by his parents, Prince Hakeem wants a woman who will love him for who he is not for his future kingdom and bank account.
With his trusted sidekick Semmi (Hall) in tow, they head to the Big Apple incognito to try to find the love of Hakeem's life. Hakeem immediately falls in love with Lisa McDowell (Headley), the daughter of a hamburger franchise magnet. She's pretty, intelligent and one of the only people nice to him, a lowly immigrant dishwasher in her father's restaurant. He does everything he can to woo her away from her current boyfriend, much to Semmi's dismay. He knows the King and Queen will never approve such a match and doesn't want to see the prince hurt.
His unwavering pursuit quickly lands them in trouble, forcing Semmi to call his parents to America, exposing his true identity. The McDowells can't believe he's really a prince, which impresses Lisa's father, but fails to light her fire. This being a comic fairy tale, it takes a while for him to win her affection, but all ends happily and wackily ever after.
Though not a new idea, the plot ticks amusingly along thanks to the talented cast. Prince Hakeem gives Murphy a chance to show his sweeter side and he's utterly charming, despite the limitations of his character whose sheltered existance makes him seem more than a bit naive and dim-witted. Hall, Amos and Jones bring life and individuality to their cookie-cutter characters, but it's Murphy who ultimately makes this trifle worthwhile.