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Nerd. Milquetoast. Klutz. These are just three of the many undesirable words that can be used to describe Professor Julius Kelp. But all that changes when the chemistry expert invents a potion that transforms him into a suave, sexy chick magnet, whom Julius aptly names Buddy Love. Unfortunately, there's one side effect: Buddy can't control when he'll change back into Julius, an event that always happens at inopportune times. How will Julius/Buddy resolve his Jekyll-and-Hyde dilemma? Written by
Jerry Lewis stars, directs, produces and co-writes (with Bill Richmond) this comedy take on Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The Nutty Professor is a film I adored as a child, and truth be told most of Jerry Lewis' films made a humorous mark in my spotty youth, but not many can now be viewed in adulthood and still tickle the rib cage with the same mirthful impact. The Nutty Professor still does to me now what it first did many many years ago.
Reading some of the reviews around the internet you can see some people going a bit deeper than is really necessary, yes there are some interesting things to delve into if you so wish, (beauty skin deep, the meek rising, be yourself, social acceptance issues etc etc) but ultimately it's a comedy spin on the Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde story with Jerry Lewis in sublime pratfall mode.
Lewis' reading of the "good & bad" side of one man is basically he expressing he himself, and he has great fun with both sides of the character. There's some very funny sequences along the way, reference Kelp's attempt at bulking up at the gym and jitterbugging at the dance, and all things build to the climax where common sense prevails as the heart strings get tugged and the smile lands firmly on the face. Joining Lewis in the froth broth as the love interest is Stella Stevens, who is not only socko sexy and gorgeous - splendidly attired in Edith Head's figure hugging costumes - she also proves to be great foil for both of Lewis' characterisations.
Awash with Technicolor and comic vibrancy, The Nutty Professor is a classic case of comedic film making done with invention and a sheer willingness to entertain. 9/10
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