NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy

The film opens in the nation of Zamunda. King Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) wakes up on the day of his and Queen Lisa’s (Shari Headley) 30th anniversary. They have three daughters – Meeka (Kiki Layne), Omma (Bella Murphy), and Tinashe (Akiley Love), and have enjoyed making Zamunda continue to thrive, with Lisa’s father Cleo McDowell (John Amos) expanding his McDowell’s restaurant business to the nation.

Akeem spars with his daughters, who are all exceptionally skilled in combat. He joins his friend and aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) as they are informed that soldiers from the neighboring nation of Nexdoria are arriving, led by General Izzi (Wesley Snipes). The men arrive at the palace, with Izzi none too pleased that Akeem left his sister at the altar (and she is still hopping on one foot and barking like a dog at his command), and he offers his son Idi (Rotimi) to wed Meeka since Zamundan laws dictate that only a male heir may succeed Akeem. He refuses to let Meeka marry into Izzi’s family, and the general in turn leaves with a threat that there may be war between their nations if Akeem refuses to let them come together.

Akeem and Semmi are summoned to King Jaffe’s (James Earl Jones) room, as he is ailing and close to death. Jaffe and the witch doctor Baba (also Arsenio Hall) tell Akeem of a vision Baba has seen, which reveals that Akeem has a son that he never knew about, conceived during his previous trip to America. Akeem is baffled, as he believes he has only been with Lisa, but Semmi is forced to come clean about the night the two of them went through Queens at a nightclub and encountered women they find repulsive. Semmi went off on his own and met a woman, Mary Junson (Leslie Jones), and told her and her friend that Akeem is a prince. Thinking it was just a pick-up line, Mary agreed to bring the men back to her place, which led to her giving Akeem drugs and then having sex with him when he wasn’t lucid. Akeem is pissed at Semmi for keeping this from him, but Jaffe tells him not to get worked up. However, he does note that Akeem will have a month to act before someone tries to assassinate him without an heir.

Jaffe orders that they have a funeral for him while he is still alive so that he may enjoy one last celebration with his family. This involves getting Morgan Freeman to narrate his life, as well as booking En Vogue, Salt-N-Pepa, and Gladys Knight to sing Jaffe’s praises. He shares one last moment with Akeem and asks him to find his son to become the rightful heir, just before he passes away. Akeem then makes plans with Semmi to make his return to America.

In Queens, Akeem’s son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) is applying for a job and is waiting with his Uncle Kareem/”Reem” (Tracy Morgan), who usually has him scalp tickets by Madison Square Garden. When Lavelle sits down for the interview with Mr. Duke (Colin Jost), he soon realizes that Duke and the people who founded the company have backward views on black folks, and Lavelle leaves.

Akeem and Semmi arrive in Queens and visit the barbershop operated by Clarence (also Eddie Murphy) and Morris (also Arsenio Hall), with Saul (ALSO Eddie Murphy) still as a customer. Akeem asks them if they have seen Lavelle, and they mention usually seeing him at the Garden. Akeem goes there and finds Lavelle attempting to scalp tickets, and he tells Lavelle who he is. Although not fully convinced, Lavelle brings Akeem back to his apartment, where Mary and Reem, and other family and friends, are gathered to celebrate Lavelle’s birthday. Mary recognizes Akeem but still doesn’t believe he is royalty until Semmi drops a briefcase full of cash and gold bars, proving they are who they say they are. After Akeem requests to bring Lavelle back to Zamunda, he only agrees if Mary can join as well. Akeem allows it.

Upon returning to Zamunda, Lisa is none too happy at Akeem keeping his trip a secret from them. Meeka is also unhappy because she knows this means her father was always more set on finding a male heir than to let her rule. To add to their discomfort, Lisa is displeased with Mary’s crass behavior. Meanwhile, Izzi is informed by his lieutenant (Rick Ross) that Akeem has returned with a son.

Lavelle starts to take in his newfound princely benefits, although he is initially nervous when he meets the royal bathers. Mary convinces him to take full advantage of being a prince, so he goes for it. Lavelle then meets the royal groomer, Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha), who chats with him and gives him a new hairstyle (although nobody is fond of the “prince tail” on the back). Lavelle is then given an official presentation as prince before Izzi and his soldiers show up to introduce to them his daughter, Bopoto (Teyana Taylor), whom Lavelle finds to be incredibly beautiful. Akeem seems to be set on letting Lavelle and Bopoto marry (despite previously rejecting the idea of arranged marriages), but Baba reminds Akeem that Jaffe’s dying words were for Lavelle to pass his “princely test”.

Akeem begins Lavelle’s training, which means he has to brush up on the history of Zamunda and his own family’s legacy. The final test involves pulling the whiskers off a lion, which frightens Lavelle. He expresses his insecurities about fulfilling princely duties to Mirembe, who tells him how his own father set off to America to follow his heart instead of following an arranged marriage. She encourages Lavelle to be who he was in Queens.

Lavelle brings Reem to Zamunda as a consigliere. With his help, he starts to adapt better to Zamundan culture and history. At the same time, Meeka trains on her own. When it is time for Lavelle to get the lion’s whiskers, Meeka approaches him, and they come together to put aside their differences to find a clever way at finishing the task. Lavelle goes near the lion and causes it to chase him all the way to a cage made from bamboo that he made with Meeka’s help. It is coated in cat food to keep the lion calm while Lavelle snips the whiskers off. He then tosses another can away from the cage so he can get out, and thus, he passes his test.

The supposed final test is for Lavelle to get circumcised. He is horrified at the prospect but figures it’s what he has to do. Baba chops down with a knife, but it was just a potato, meaning the whole thing was a prank/test of character to prove that Lavelle can sacrifice his pride when necessary. Thus, he is now a real prince. Later, Lavelle walks outside with Mirembe, where she expresses a fascination for American culture, particularly the “Barbershop” movies. She also has a desire to cut hair as a job with her own beauty salon, and Lavelle encourages her to pursue the dream. They end up kissing, but Mirembe feels she shouldn’t have done it.

A party is thrown in celebration of Lavelle’s new princehood, with the Nexdorians attending. Lisa and Mary start to bond over drinks since Lisa has missed being in Queens and is happy to reconnect with someone from there. Lavelle takes Bopoto aside to get to know her, but as her aunt before her, Bopoto was raised only to believe she can only do whatever her husband wants. Realizing that he is more truly in love with Mirembe, he goes to talk to her, and then to Akeem. When he finds his father, he overhears Izzi talking to him about having used Lavelle like a pawn in their game, and now everyone will benefit from him marrying Bopoto. Lavelle gets Mirembe, Mary, and Reem on the royal jet and heads back to Queens. Semmi alerts Akeem, making matters more complicated when Izzi demands a wedding the next day. Akeem tells a very drunk Lisa about the situation with Lavelle, leading to an argument where she sends him out. He goes to McDowells and talks to Cleo about fatherly duties, not only to Lavelle but to Meeka and her sisters as well. After considering what his late mother would have wanted, this inspires him to go find Lavelle to make things right.

The next day, Izzi and his soldiers arrive, only to find that neither Akeem or Lavelle are there. Izzi orders his soldiers to capture Meeka and take her as a prisoner, but she overpowers them on her own and is soon helped by Omma and Tinashe. This forces Izzi and his men to surrender.

Back in Queens, Lavelle’s family gets them to the only available church to find them, operated by Reverend Brown (also Arsenio Hall). Akeem goes by the barbershop again and is directed to the church, where he goes to stop the wedding. He apologizes to Lavelle for not considering his feelings and gives him and Mirembe his blessing.

Akeem returns to Zamunda with Gladys Knight again to help apologize to Lisa, and he promises to only do what is right for the family. Lavelle and Mirembe are married, but Akeem tells Meeka that she will officially become queen, with Lavelle still being a prince, but as ambassador to the U.S. Akeem also makes peace with Izzi and Nexdoria. Everyone celebrates with Davido, as well as Randy Watson (also Eddie Murphy) with his band Sexual Chocolate, performing “We Are Family.”

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30 years after his fateful trip to America, Akeem Joffer is now king of Zamunda, with Lisa McDowell as his queen. They have raised three daughters - Meeka, Omma, and Tinashe - but none of them can succeed him because Zamundan law dictates that only a male heir may rule next. As his father King Jaffe lays dying, Akeem is informed that he has a son conceived from just before he met Lisa in Queens. His best friend and aide Semmi reveals that he got two women to hook up with them, and Akeem had a drugged encounter with a woman named Mary Junson. Jaffe's dying wish is for Akeem to find his son to succeed him, especially since the neighboring nation of Nexdoria, led by General Izzi, considers Akeem to be more vulnerable than Jaffe, and therefore may be easier to assassinate.

Akeem and Semmi travel to Queens once again to meet his son, Lavelle, who scalps tickets while trying to find a real job. Lavelle goes to Zamunda with Mary, and he must take up his princely duties through tests. Meeka is none too happy with his presence since she wanted to be queen and has trained for it her whole life. Lavelle also starts to fall for the royal groomer, Mirembe, who encourages him to be a prince not in the traditional sense, but as himself.

After Lavelle officially becomes a prince, he is set to wed Izzi's daughter Bopoto, but he doesn't connect with her because Nexdorian women are taught to serve their husbands. He realizes he loves Mirembe and wants to tell Akeem, but he overhears Izzi tell Akeem that he used his own son as a pawn, and now they will get what they want. Lavelle returns to Queens with his mother, uncle, and Mirembe. Akeem discusses fatherly duties with Lisa's father Cleo and goes after Lavelle.

Akeem finds Lavelle about to marry Mirembe in a janky church, and he apologizes for not letting him follow his heart as he once did. At the same time, Akeem's daughters fend off Izzi and his soldiers when they want to retaliate against Akeem for going back on their agreement. Akeem returns with Lavelle, who marries Mirembe in the palace. Akeem also decides to rewrite the laws to make it so that Meeka will become queen when he is gone.