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Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson
Director: Peter Segal
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: July 2000
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Larry Miller, John Ales, Anna Maria Horsford, Melinda McGraw

Review by MrBrown
3 stars out of 4

"Eddie Murphy is the Klumps," state the print ads for _Nutty_Professor_II:_The_Klumps_, and Universal must be commended for an uncommon level of truth in advertising. Peter Segal's entertaining sequel to Tom Shadyac's smash 1996 remake of the Jerry Lewis starrer _The_Nutty_Professor_ is, like the original, a stunning testimony to the brilliance and versatility of its star. Indeed, Eddie Murphy _is_ _The_Klumps_.

As in the first film, Murphy not only plays large, gentle Professor Sherman Klump, but also Sherman's grouchy father Cletus, loving mother Etta, surly brother Ernie, and feisty Granny--as well as Sherman's destructive alter ego, Buddy Love. As the film opens, Sherman is haunted by and occasionally taken over by Buddy, the manifestation of his more outspoken urges. Seeing the ever-increasing emergence of his Buddy personality as a threat to his relationship with his true love, colleague Denise Gaines (Janet Jackson), Sherman undergoes a risky procedure to have Buddy's DNA permanently removed from his brain. Naturally, things don't go as smoothly as planned, and while Buddy is indeed separated from Sherman, he becomes an entirely separate person.

The science that brings about the rebirth of Buddy--who, in an inspired twist, isn't quite his old self--is pure hokum, as are all the mechanics behind the ingredient at the center of the film: Sherman's revolutionary youth formula, which he hides from Buddy in the Klump family garage. But more than the Klump home plays an increased role in _Nutty II_; as the title implies, Sherman's other family members are given subplots of their own--most prominently Mama and Papa, who are looking to bring back some spark in their marriage; and Granny, who has a new beau (Gabriel Williams) with whom she shares the joy of "relations." Not only are the family members' roles expanded, so is the type of humor surrounding them. Director Peter Segal and writers Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield, Paul Weitz, and Chris Weitz (the latter two the duo who directed _American Pie_) haven't completely dropped the toilet humor that characterized the Klump family's two scenes in the original film (though they probably should have; the flatulence jokes are among the film's flattest gags), but the bulk of their laughs derive from their personalities--or in the case of hilariously bickering Papa and Granny, the clash of them.

With a number of other Klumps getting their share of screen time along with Sherman, not to mention Buddy (who once again plots Sherman's ruin), something had to give, and what gets the short shrift is the romance. Jackson, in her first screen role since _Poetic_Justice_, is likable and poised, but Denise is so blandly written, loving Sherman unconditionally from first frame to the last and doing little else. It would have been nice to see their relationship develop, like the first film's more endearing one between Sherman and Jada Pinkett's Carla Purdy (who is briefly mentioned here); or at least run into some turbulence to create some dramatic tension. But since they're perfect for each other, everything's perfect between them, and while that's all well and good, it doesn't make for the most interesting of viewing.

But what never fails to interest is the virtuoso acting display by Murphy. With four credited writers, the script of _The_Klumps_ doesn't always quite flow, but Murphy's unparalleled prowess smooths over the rough spots. Each character he plays is clearly, distinctly drawn and funny and endearing in his or her own way. Of course, Murphy's bravura turn is aided immeasurably by Rick Baker's outstanding makeup work and the efforts of the visual effects crew, but it is Murphy who gives each one of the Klumps energy and soul.

That's what ultimately makes _The_Klumps_ an enjoyable time at the movies: its overall high spirits--and, of course, the simple fact that it makes you laugh. And in the season of unpretentious cinematic entertainment, that's what matters.

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