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NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS

Review by Andrew Manning (7/00)

Release: 2000, Universal
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales
Director: Peter Segal
MPAA Rating: [PG-13] sexuality, language
Genre: Comedy


The Klumps are back...



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SUMMARY

On the verge of marketing a youth-inducing formula, Professor Sherman Klump (Murphy) undergoes a dangerous experiment to extract the negative elements of his persona, embodied by a psychotic alter-ego named Buddy Love. But to his dismay, Sherman quickly realizes that Buddy is a central part of him when his brain cells begin to die off soon after the experiment.

THE SUDDEN RUNDOWN

Eddie Murphy gets to showcase his flexibility as a comedic actor in this somewhat average endeavor.

WHAT'S GOOD

The only thing that really makes The Klumps watchable is Eddie Murphy's multi-role performance. Playing all of the title characters, Murphy transforms and interacts with himself with the greatest of ease. And like his Saturday Night Live alum Mike Myers in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, his outrageous alter-egos completely steal the show.

Besides the main character of Professor Sherman Klump, Murphy plays four members of the Klump clan: Papa Klump, an out of work old man who can't seem to get it up, despite popping Viagra like candy; Mama Klump, the well meaning, over-eager mother hen of the group; Ernie Klump, Sherman's no-account, jogging-suit-lounging brother; and Grandma Klump, the notoriously horny old bag who provides the most vulgar material of the entire movie. Murphy's ability to take each character and run in a different direction is impressive, and his flexibility is to be praised. Throw in his character of Buddy Love, Sherman's unbridled id, and his range is even greater. The combination of Murphy's talent, trick camerawork, and decent make-up jobs ultimately produces a highly believable performance, and you rarely get the impression that one actor is pulling multiple shifts.

Much of the comedy relies on Murphy yelling a lot, and the more vulgar bits are provided by the Grandma Klump character. Constantly indulging in sex talk, the horny old crone will have audiences cringing and groaning to no end. She's the funniest character in this cavalcade of tubby comics. When she gets into a brief confrontation with Papa Klump, she throws down and asks, "Do you know I'm strapped, nigga?" Throughout the movie, she totes an old, skinny beanpole of a man who is essentially her boy toy love slave. He is introduced in the beginning of the movie as "the oldest Negro alive" and Ernie Klump asks him, "How's the Underground Railroad?"

Elsewhere in the department of vulgarity, there's a giant mutant hamster that's the result of one of Sherman's experiments gone wrong. When security guards try to take it down, it points its hindquarters at them and fires a barrage of deadly boulder-like hamster pellets. Perhaps the most disturbing element of this scene is how the special effects team went through the trouble of detailing the hamster sphincter and all its repulsive contractions and expansions. Glad my box office dollars are being put to good use...ack...

In a brief dream sequence, Eddie Murphy pulls off a good Obi-Wan Kenobi impersonation in a humorous parody of Armageddon.

Janet Jackson stars as Sherman's love interest, a compassionate and smart young woman who is also looking pretty good to boot. Her first scene has her squeezed into a tight wedding dress and sporting a surprising amount of cleavage.

As a general rule, sequels suck. But The Klumps has to be given credit for one thing, and that's for coming up with a story that's a departure from the first Nutty Professor. That's not to say the story is any good, but at least they didn't just rehash the original.


WHAT'S BAD

Reality is probably the furthest thing from the story of The Klumps. While I would never argue that the story in this comedic fluff should be realistic, I would have at least liked it to be coherent. There are essentially four plotlines going on in this movie, and they intertwine somewhat clumsily: Sherman's discovery and marketing of a genetic fountain of youth; Sherman's courting of Janet Jackson's character; the evil Buddy Love running rampant; and Sherman coming to terms with the fact that Buddy is an essential part of him, whether he likes it or not.

Because the movie is so split on these differing storylines, none of them are explored fully. In fact, it's pretty hard to pinpoint which of the four is actually the main arc. Factor in all the time that is spent on random antics from the Klumps, and there's even less focus on a central theme. Nutty Professor 2 meanders haphazardly from point to point. At first glance, the youth serum seems like the main thread, but by the end, it seems like the least important.

In the final analysis, The Klumps is good only for its showcase of Eddie Murphy's characters. The jokes are funny, and the movie certainly has its moments, but overall, that showcase is framed in a story that simply isn't very good. In fact, the whole thing is somewhat contrived and formulaic. If it weren't for Murphy's performance, The Klumps would be disregarded as bland and generic.


Rating: 5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)
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