Thinner than the original Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
By Ross Anthony
Perhaps I remember the first "Nutty Professor" a little too fondly. A film sporting the ridiculous premise of a large scientist who takes his own "skinny medicine" to impress the woman of his dreams. The scheme backfires when the effect toggles uncontrollably with one other side effect ... the slim version has its own personality so extremely different from Professor Sherman Klump that it also has its own name - Buddy Love. That film was a surprise laugh riot, with two short visits to the Klump residence for dinner that made it a classic. These supper scenes are stand-alone funny and technical wonders with Eddie Murphy playing more than just the Nutty Professor and Buddy Love. Hence a sequel that expands Klump family involvement.
There's another reason for a sequel - 270 million dollars. The production notes are suspiciously quick to point that figure out. In fact they put it this way, "Following the $270 million box office triumph of "The Nutty Professor" in 1996, Eddie Murphy returns to the role..." That's the first sentence in the "About the Production" section. Perhaps this profit anticipation diluted the formula a bit.
Buddy returns to the screen in "The Klumps." Just as Sherman is preparing to marry the latest woman of his dreams (Janet Jackson) and present his newest greatest invention (youth serum), Buddy Love steps in to fowl it all up. The sequel certainly does have its moments - many in fact. When Sherman's horny gramma catches Buddy sneaking around ... well lets just say she's fixin' to give him more than just a spanking. That scene will have you howling. And the wise-cracking university dean played by Larry Miller deserves more than just a few kudos for his sharply hilarious sarcasm. He's every bit as sharp as Eddie is. And the Klumps themselves, from the loving bickering between dad and gramma, to the choir singing, hand-clapping momma - you'll love this virtual family. Eddie performs them masterfully, while the cinematographers and make-up people create a boisterously entertaining reality out of plastic and film.
But good characters are only one ingredient in a good film. Bluntly put, this one lacks the heart of the first. In trying to re-create an old magic, it fails to invent its own new magic. And though I hate to say it, this picture about science professors needs more chemistry. The look and feel of the production itself is 1980's with an "E.T." kind of cartoony-exagerration to details that would have been better off left realistic. I.E.: the liquid solutions are all bright primary colors; lightening strikes the night Klump takes another serum in hopes of extracting his "Mr. Hide;" and in order to test his dwindling intelligence, Sherman uses a computer simulated maze to race a lab rat around a real maze. (BTW, they missed a good computer mouse joke there.) Also, I like shocking toilet humor as much as the next guy, but this film way-overplayed its "big butt" card and overspent its fart joke allowance. And lastly, Buddy Love is simply more annoying and less endearing this time around.
These uninspired factors conspire to "thin-out" the effect of the funnier more inspired scenes. I loved the first "Nutty Professor," but was a bit disappointed after eagerly awaiting this sequel.
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG-13. Starring Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales. Directed by Peter Segal. Written by Barry W. Blaustein and Davide Sheffield, Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz. Based on Characters Created by Jerry Lewis and Bill Richmond. Produced by Brian Grazer at Universal/Imagine.
---- Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: http://RossAnthony.com
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