The Nutty Professor (1996)
Directed by Tom Shadyac

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* *

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In order to insinuate himself into the affections of an attractive woman, a grossly obese scientist, Sherman Klump, invents a glowing blue potion that transforms him into the slim but obnoxious Buddy Love.

The Nutty Professor, inspired by Jerry Lewis' 1963 film of the same title, is generally uninspired and hackneyed. The socially awkward professor pines for a beautiful woman, is tormented by an arrogant dean, faces challenges, suffers setbacks, and, inevitably, overcomes all the obstacles placed before him to win not only the girl but also professional recognition.

Eddie Murphy, who stars as Sherman Klump, Buddy Love, and virtually the entirety of the Klump family, does enliven the movie, although none of his portrayals of any of the characters is inspired. The professor is shy, socially awkward, and good hearted. Buddy Love is wildly annoying, obnoxious, and, interestingly, much like the characters Murphy played in many of his early films. The members of the Klump family are all stereotypes that should be familiar to anyone with a television. Despite his lack or originality, Murphy does, however, play the various roles with such gusto and energy that he makes much of the film far more enjoyable than it would have been without his presence.

The Nutty Professor is not an inspired comedy, but it is occasionally funny. Murphy's transformations from the gargantuan Klump to the thin Love, and back again, are amusing, as are both the awkward and inappropriate dinner he and his love interest have with his family and the dream sequence in which he finds that he has grown to the size of a skyscraper and is terrorizing a city.

Although it has a few entertaining moments, The Nutty Professor is a generally dull and predictable movie. It does, nonetheless, convey to the viewer the important message that slim, beautiful women should love fat men for who they are, not what they look like, and that fat men should love slim, beautiful women.

Review by Keith Allen

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