The big movie this weekend is Nutty Professor II – The Klumps.
Eddie Murphy returns in a sequel carefully crafted by scores of tender loving research respondents and enough screenwriters to steadfastly assure the lowest of common denominators and the highest of high concepts. Who knew so many third world sweatshop kids were both seamstresses for Kathie Lee and Writers Guild members?
Did you know that original Nutty Professor Jerry Lewis gets an executive producer credit on this movie? Is this why the Janet Jackson title track covers “Love Theme from Cinderfella”?
You’ll remember the central conflict in the Nutty Professor tale is between sweet, smart, and stout Sherman Klump and suave, slick, and svelte Buddy Love.
Sherman is so haunted by Buddy Love and the outrageous box office grosses of the first Nutty Professor movie, he attempts to remove the defective Buddy-gene from his body by having it essentially liposuctioned out. Meanwhile, Sherman develops a revolutionary youth serum (a novel concept if ever there wasn’t any), although serum cholesterol should be his main concern, if you ask me.
And in the spirit of let’s-throw-stuff-against-the-test-
audience-and-see-what-sticks, there’s even a subplot about Sherman’s flatulence nearly saving the Earth from an approaching asteroid. If only Robert Duvall had thought of this in Deep Impact.
I’m guessing we’re one sequel away from an enchanted department store mannequin who becomes real, a sympathetic hooker who transforms into a refined lady, or an ignorant loser who fulfills his dreams, wins the game, defeats the foe, and gets the girl. Pick one. It’s next.
And Meryl Streep take heed: Recent history proves there’s no movie that can’t be punched up with a fart joke.
Here, Sherman dreams that Buddy’s head pokes out of his fly, creates an act, and signs a deal for its own HBO comedy special: “Eddie Murphy’s Head, Uncircumcised.”
Eddie plays pretty much every role in this movie thanks to some state-of-the-art special effects. And thank God, because the Klumps – and especially old Granny Klump – are indeed the stars and the only reason this movie is worthwhile. For the next Nutty Professor, why not eliminate the ridiculous over-cooked plots altogether and stick with a side-splitting Klump-fest? Plotting is so 90′s, after all – leave it to the Indies, it’s all they can afford!
Janet Jackson is cast far against type – the acting type, that is – as a scientist. She’s a geneticist actually, but you’ll never hear the g-word since test screenings tend to reject words with four or more syllables or any word beginning with “gen” unless it ends with “itals.”
In spite of her scientific pedigree, Janet’s real-life science knowledge extends only as far as recombinant makeup application dynamics, and she’s convinced a “nucleotide” is some kind of extra-strength Tide.
To woo Janet, Eddie’s Sherman sprays bug pheromone into the night air so the horny fireflies mass and spell out “Marry Me,” although in test screenings they spelled out “please fill out your questionnaires now.” Don’t tell Sherman, but with a little extra spraying and a twist of the neck the message would have read “Mary Matalin,” unfortunately test screenings don’t get James Carville jokes.
When I tried spraying bug pheromone in my back yard, the fireflies didn’t spell anything because in California you need to approach them through their agents.
Eddie’s Nutty Professor II is as reliable as a box of raisin bran – you’ll find laughs in every shriveled up Klump of nutty fruit and you’ll find ‘em in every bite. Just don’t go looking for gourmet presentation.