Four years after remaking Jerry Lewis's 1963 madcap masterpiece, The Nutty Professor, Eddie Murphy takes another bite out of the wide screen (the wider the better for this one) as the gracious, but gravity-challenged Sherman Klump and nearly every other member of the Klump clan in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (Universal Pictures). This year's gross-out go-round finds Sherman living larger than ever (approx. size 56, husky) and once again battling his pesky, perverted alter ego, Buddy Love played by, you guessed it, Eddie Murphy. Buddy pops up at the most inopportune times to do all he can to ruin the romance between Sherman and his fine-looking fiancée Denise, pleasurably portrayed by the only slightly gelatinous Janet Jackson. To further thicken the movie's buttery batter, there's a battle between Sherman and Buddy to be the first to market an invaluable anti-aging formula that takes twenty years off a person's life, if only for about twenty minutes.
It's all in big, dumb fun and, best of all, the only thing heavy about Nutty Professor II will be the weight of its collective cashbox on opening weekend.
|Janet Jackson as Denise and Eddie Murphy as Sherman Klump
Director Peter Segal, best known for such adventures in subtlety as Tommy Boy and Naked Gun 33 1/3 The Final Insult, keeps the buffet line of flaming fart jokes, sexed-up senior citizens, and giant horny hamsters, moving at a pleasant pace though it eventually slows to that of settling Jell-O. At a hefty one hour and fifty minutes NPII could have stood a good carving to trim the fat from the script's crudities that gush like an overflowing toilet out of the mouths of Sherman's ever-feuding family. From his nymphomaniac granny, who plots to jump Buddy's bones when she mistakes him for the stripper at Denise's bachelorette party, to the Professor's sad-in-the-sack father who eats Viagra like it were M & M's. And the talk of "mercy humps" among the Klumps never ends, no matter how hard you wish it would. I must admit, though, the site of Sherman's family appearing at an "all you can eat" restaurant, announcing "we're hungry"
and what they do to the buffet, with the exception of the salad of course, is a gut-buster for sure.
Almost as funny is the idea of Janet Jackson playing a genetics professor. But, Jackson, no stranger to the "battle of the bulge" herself, does benefit from an over-inflated supporting cast of Klumps that makes her look if not anorexic, then at least "queen-sized." Miss Jackson also has a sparkling smile and a sincere acting style that keeps you rooting for Denise and her bipolar polar-bear sized boyfriend.
The remainder of NPIIs plot, which is but a wafer-thin excuse for a litany of lard jokes, pits Professor Sherman against his alter ego Buddy, who is an even slyer dog than before thanks to being genetically piggybacked with a basset hound. Sherman mistakenly tries to treat Buddy as if he were a defective strand of DNA rather than an unpleasant aspect of his own personality and removes him in an untested lab experiment. He doesn't count on the side effect, however, of being left with an IQ that's diminishing faster than you can say "dumb and dumber." God or Phleer Pharmaceuticals only knows why, but Sherman must liquefy Buddy and ingest him if he's to regain the smarts that first captured Denise's heart and save himself from a vegetable-like existence. After all, Klumps don't do well with vegetables.
Eddie Murphy's tour-de-schmaltz performance is as important to the film's success (which will be tough to top considering the $270 million that the '96 version pulled in) as the return of special-effects team Rick Baker and Jon Farhat. How they managed to film Eddie seamlessly interacting with multiple versions of himself and how Murphy sat still for the endless hours it must have taken to "get into" his characters is both amazing and, for the most part, entertaining.
So, if you're really in the mood for a flatulence-fueled story line, are a connoisseur of other no-brow comedies like American Pie and Ace Ventura, are just tired of having your heartstrings tugged to shreds by Patriots and Perfect Storms, and could care less about finding out What Lies Beneath, then NPII is just the movie for you. Though be warned, the picture's jokes are as repetitive as the burps from a candy-counter hot dog and so gaseous that a stray spark could blow up the whole theater. So enjoy at your own risk and please observe the no-smoking signs.
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