|Nutty Professor II: The Klumps|
|HD DVD Comedy|
|Written by Mel Odom|
|Monday, 01 October 2007|
Jerry Lewis started the whole spin on “The Nutty Professor”, which in itself was an interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. The whole concept, in Stevenson’s work, then in Lewis’s and finally in Murphy’s, is the conceit that inside every ordinary man is an extraordinary one—in Lewis’ film and this sequel to a remake, he’s brimming with sexual power and suave charisma, waiting to get out.
Where Stevenson’s own treatment lay in tragedy with a touch of horror, Lewis and Murphy played to lowbrow humor that only the French truly seem to hold in esteem. But Murphy’s movie was a success, prompting this sequel.
As with Lewis, Murphy portrays a university professor who’s incredibly intelligent but lacks confidence and social graces. For Lewis’s character, he was hampered by was ugliness and shyness. Murphy’s Professor Sherman Klump is obscenely overweight, as is his whole family, whom the viewer gets to meet in the opening frames of the movie.
“The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” is indeed a sequel, and it uses much the same jokes established in the first. In “The Nutty Professor,” Sherman (Eddie Murphy in massive prosthetic makeup created by Rick Baker and his team)) was attempting to create a miracle diet chemical. He succeeded, but he also created an alternate self who declared himself to be Buddy Love (Eddie Murphy natural, but with an immense ego). The rest of that movie consisted of Sherman fighting Buddy for the control of his body while chasing after Carla, a woman he fell for.
The second move, therefore, is somewhat confusing when it starts with Sherman getting married to Denise (Janet Jackson), also a professor at the college. No mention is made of Carla, or where Denise came from, or how that romance started. Instead, the opening sequence also establishes the type of humor the viewer is going to get the rest of the film.
I remember Eddie when he was cool and his humor was cutting-edge. At 22, he wowed audiences in “48HRS” by walking in and taking over. He rocked the cop movie lovers again with “Beverly Hills Cop”. But I suppose those movies aren’t really in vogue any more and he had to go somewhere—and it was too family-friendly movies.
However, the humor in these films border on the offensive, if not for subject matter then for the perception of the audience. There are some funny bits throughout the film, but I really think anyone could have done them, once they were made up, of course. Martin Lawrence did a riff on this in “Big Momma’s House” and the sequel.
Murphy takes up a lot of the screen time in this one, starring as his mother and father (which provides all kinds of off-color jokes), his grandmother, and his brother, as well as Buddy Love again. He’s good in all these roles, but when you start looking at the core of the movie, you have to start asking yourself if all these extra characters were necessary. Especially taking the time to reveal their stories.
The family dinner alone must have been a logistical nightmare to set up and pull off. Days had to have been involved for a few minutes of not-so funny jokes and squabbling, as well as an immense fart gag that – yep, I’m gonna say it – really stunk up the place because it was so over the top.
The plot basically hinges around Sherman’s desire for Denise, and the fact that he’s partially invented a youth serum to turn back the biological clock for anyone who drinks it. The fact that it works on dogs and humans, who have vastly different DNAs, doesn’t ever really get explained. It’s just magic, and it creates the widget that Sherman and Buddy Love can fight over.
After the Freudian beginning where Buddy manifests in Sherman’s pants while he’s dreaming about getting married to Denise, the humor just goes straight downhill. It never recovers. The plot is almost intangible, but it surfaces enough to tie all the Walter Mitty-type episodes and extra stories about the family together.
Richard Gant and Anna Marie Horsford are almost wasted as Denise’s parents. They get little screen time, and then it’s only to support Murphy’s antics. Janet Jackson, whether because of her lack of acting ability or the role, never comes to life at all.
The film bombed with the critics, but was a commercial success that those critics can’t explain. I believe it’s because Eddie Murphy can still draw a crowd almost no matter what he does. I just wish he would find more to do than weak fare like the Nutty Professor, Dr. Doolittle, and Norbit. “Daddy Daycare” had heart and gave him a chance to act and be himself, which I think people like.
The video presentation of the movie is awesome. The screen fills with color, depth, and clean, sharp edges. The HD DVD experience on this movie is great, and it’s backed by the TrueHD audio presentation. The sound is pitch-perfect and rolls effortlessly through the surround sound system. Since the disc is dual-layered, though, there is an annoying hiccup while it switches over. Otherwise everything runs perfectly.
The disc comes jam-packed with extras, but you have to sit through the end credits to watch the blooper real. There’s a lot of focus on the director, and he spends time talking about Eddie Murphy’s talent. Murphy is extremely talented, but he needs roles that not only offer the laughs, but also the meat and potatoes of true character. He can pull those off as easily as he can the absurd.
“The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” isn’t a great movie. If you like Murphy or want a night of inanity, pick this one up. But I’d definitely say it’s out of reach for the youngsters. Despite the numerous fart jokes that crowd would get a belly laugh over, they’re backed by way too much sexual innuendo.