Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Nutty Professor

The Nutty Professor; Comedy, USA, 1996, D: Tom Shadyac, S: Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, Larry Miller, Dave Chappelle, James Coburn

Sherman Klump is a chemistry professor who studies genes at the Wellman College. Unfortunately, even though he is a kind person, he is lonely and has almost no friends because he is overweight. All of his family members are also fat, so, in order to impress chemistry grad student Carla, he takes part in his own experiment, taking a serum that makes him - thin. Under a new name, Buddy Love, he becomes arrogant and tries to seduce Carla. But the serum loses its effect every once and a while, turning him fat and thin back and fort. Inevitably, the secret is revealed, but Carla actually likes Sherman the way he is.

"Coming to America" from '88 was for a long time the last hit by comedian Eddie Murphy. Ever since, he went through only commercially unsuccessful films, until 8 years later his remake of the Jerry Lewis comedy "The Nutty Professor" became a hit in '96 and considerably improved his status. Alas, it would be logical to presume that "Professor" is some Murphy's exceptionally good film...but it isn't. Already from the exposition, it gets clear that its just a standard "accept who you are" mainstream film - though with too much contradictory 'fat jokes' - that relies too much on vulgarity like farting or hamster moving in some guy's pants. Its such a crude humor that the viewers actually wish for some more sophisticated form of jokes, something more colorful, yet the authors didn't want to go there. Unusually, as a whole, the story has a well meaning message and even some emotions revolving around the kind, but lonely overweight hero, while the film is both tasteless and funny. Murphy is again in top notch shape, however, and has a good time playing also small supporting roles as Sherman's family members, but also as his alter ego Buddy Love who particularly enjoys taking revenge on Reggie, the stand up comedian who previously humiliated him with fat jokes.


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