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The Nutty Professor
1996 - PG-13 - 95 Mins.
Director: Tom Shadyac
Written By: Tom Shadyac
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Coburn, David Chappelle, Montell Jordan
Review by: John Ulmer
   
Unlike Jerry Lewis' 1963 original, this film is actually funny. Not terribly funny--I really didn't like it much the first time I saw it--but in the long run it's a nice comedy to watch when you're stuck at home on a Friday or Saturday night.

Eddie Murphy plays Sherman Klump, an extremely obese man with a giddy voice and bad habits. He teaches science at a local college, and is a klutz, knocking over everything in his path with his boulder of a body. But Sherman really feels depressed after seeing a fellow associate, knowing she'll never want to go out with a fat man like himself. So Sherman makes a potion that transforms him into the thin persona of Buddy Love (regular Eddie Murphy without the fat suit): a hip, suave, vogue man, but most of all a skinny man. And so the confident Buddy Love strikes a date with the woman Sherman likes so much, only to find that she doesn't like Buddy, but Sherman himself the way he was before. But it's too late--Buddy Love has taken over Sherman, and he won't go away. Buddy keeps taking over Sherman's body time and time again, until Buddy has become another seperate person living in Sherman's body, and Sherman must try to find a way to make him leave. For good.

"The Nutty Professor" has one element that makes it better than Jerry Lewis' flick. Actually, two things. 1. There's no Jerry Lewis, and 2., It's at least funny enough to evoke laughs, something the wild and crazy and over-the-top original never did. Jerry Lewis is a hyperactive child-man, and while Eddie Murphy shares some of the same traits, he can be funny given the right material, unlike Jerry Lewis, who is not funny no matter what you shove his way. I've never really seen a funny Jerry Lewis film, and even "The Disorderly Orderly," the best film of his I have seen, was not laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Eddie Murphy can be bashed for many films. There's no excuse for films like "Harlem Nights," "A Vampire in Brooklyn" (which was okay but could have been much better), etc., etc...

But you have to admit that no matter how hyper he is, Eddie Murphy gives a good performance here. He works. He just does. And he beats Jerry Lewis by a mile.

Sometimes the film goes for laughs below the belt, with flatulence gags (like the King Kong-type-"farting" scene), but when it's above the belt it can be quite funny. The sequel, though a bit underrated (I'll admit now that I laughed watching it), was too crude and rude to really be remembered. But this film seems to ride the line of crudeness without crossing over as to gross people out too much, like the films "Dumb and Dumber," "Kingpin," "There's Something About Mary" (okay, it crossed the line a bit), and just about any Farrelly Bros' movie out there. In fact, if they make another "Nutty Professor" sequel, I say the Farrelly Brothers should direct it, because it seems right up their alley.

 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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