Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Directed by Peter Segal
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude humor and sex-related material.

Review by Matt Heffernan <>
July 28, 2000

One of the highpoints from 1996's The Nutty Professor (a remake of the 1963 Jerry Lewis film) were the scenes where Eddie Murphy played each member of his character's family. The producers (which happen to include both Murphy and Lewis) realized this, and have created a sequel that is focused on these characters. Great idea; Murphy is brilliant in each role, but what about writing a decent script and getting a good director for the project? I guess they forgot a few things.

As before, Murphy plays genetics professor Sherman Klump, and his latest project is a formula which acts as a temporary fountain of youth. Give it to an old dog, and he becomes a puppy. Give it to a hamster, and he becomes... well, a much smaller hamster. Sherman has also fallen in love with his research partner, Dr. Denice Gains (Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty -- sorry, couldn't help it).

Sherman wants to marry her, but the spectre of Buddy Love (his thinner-but-testosterone-crazed alter ego from the previous film) still haunts him, causing Tourette-like fits of lascivious behavior. He tries undergoing a procedure to remove the abnormal gene that Buddy exists in, but a lab accident causes a vial of this gene (a blue, viscous liquid) to spill on the floor. A dog hair mixes in, causing the gene to attach to the hair's complete DNA, and a new Buddy Love springs forth.

The rest of the film deals with the now-autonomous Buddy trying to steal the youth formula from Sherman, and claim the $150,000,000 grant. Of course, that's merely the McGuffin, as Hitchcock would say. The real point is to get the Klump family on screen as much as possible, but since they aren't part of the McGuffin, their scenes are just filler. If they were more entertaining filler, I'd be happy, but the film finds little inspiration, even with five screenwriters.

Certainly there are some good laughs, and watching Murphy perform is a real treat, especially with the seamless effects putting his characters together. The film just seems lost, and director Peter Segal doesn't seem interested in helping it find its way. Many scenes could have been very funny, but the timing turns it all into one big anti-climax. One scene, where Sherman proposes to Denice in a very creative way, a potentially magical and romantic moment becomes awkward.

It's very frustrating to watch a film that is so close to being good continually come up short. Murphy should have exacted some of his power as producer to have the film re-cut. Unfortunately, it's already been released, and will soon be forgotten -- a big-budget footnote under the first two films.

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Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000)

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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan