Anthony's Film Review

The Nutty Professor (1996)

This remake of an old comedy works quite well with humor and a likable protagonist...

The 1996 remake of The Nutty Professor, a 1963 comedy starring Jerry Lewis, really surprised me. I usually don't have high expectations when movies are remakes of older ones. In most cases, the remake falls flat. In a few instances, however, the new versions works, either just as well as the old one or better. In the case of The Nutty Professor, I thought Eddie Murphy did a good job being in a movie that paid tribute to the original while simultaneously standing on its own.

The basic story idea is the same. An unattractive but intelligent professor wants to be handsome and be able to woo the ladies. In this version, Eddie Murphy is an obese professor named Sherman Klump. He is immediately likable the first moment you see him. You can clearly see his humble but kind nature, and when costar Jada Pinkett as Carla Purty enters the picture, she sees it as well. You can tell there is chemistry between the two.

Speaking of chemistry, Sherman still decides to use his knowledge of chemistry to his advantage. This occurs after a date with Carla at a comedy club where an obnoxious comedian makes fun of Sherman's weight. Despite Carla's reassurance, Sherman wants to be attractive. So he creates a serum that instantly transforms him into the thin and handsome Buddy Love. One part of this cracked me up. When Buddy looks down at the rest of his body, he realizes that he could see his own penis for once.

However, the situation gets complicated. The transformation is only temporary, meaning Sherman has to make it look as if he and Buddy are separate people. At the same time, Buddy's becomes increasingly masculine and even hyper due to rising testosterone levels. It's a pretty good plot to follow, not to mention an interesting conflict between two opposing characters.

But let's not forget the humor, provided you're not offended by fat jokes. Eddie Murphy as Sherman Klump is not just lovable. He's funny. I liked two scenes that involve him dreaming about Carla. One depicts him on top of her at a beach, kissing as they sink into the sand. The other involves him as a fifty-foot man who creates strong winds when he passes gas. Then there's the Klump family. Eddie Murphy also plays various members of this overweight family. There's also a Klump kid who eats a lot as Grandma Klump claps and cheers, "Hercules! Hercules!"

With all of this, I have to give this movie credit. It was smart, funny, and entertaining. As I mentioned above, this version of The Nutty Professor manages to stay true to the basic general story idea while being unique. Given how many film remakes don't do as well, I consider this one to be a major success. That's not to say Jerry Lewis is no longer funny now that Eddie Murphy has done better. On the contrary, I like to imagine Lewis and Murphy standing next to each other. Both men are equally great comic geniuses who know how to make us laugh.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about The Nutty Professor, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my review of Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.


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