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Nutty Professor II:
The Klumps

Rated [PG-13], 110 minutes
Starring Eddie Murphy and Janet Jackson
Screenplay by Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield and Paul Weitz & Chris Weitz
Based on a story by Steve Oedekerk and Barry W. Blaustein & David Sheffield
Directed by Peter Segal
website: www.klumps.com

IN SHORT: A remarkably non-gross popcorn flick. Take it or leave it.

But who ever thought that Eddie Murphy could ever be considered a conservative humorist, other than the Wayans Brothers who've outdone almost everyone for grossness. Murphy's second run as The Nutty Professor isn't as balanced as the initial flick, it tends to run strictly towards sentimental or strictly towards the fart jokes but as summertime fare it's fine for a week or two. When it's schmaltzy, you could drown in the sentimentality. When NPII: The Klumps is funny, it's all below the belt humor which, to be honest, is exactly what I expected.

The high point of that debut was the dinner table scene in which Eddie Murphy portrayed all the members of the Klump family: Sherman, the genius genetics professor; his gasbag father Cletus and pristine mother Anna; brother Ernie and lascivious Grandma aka the mother-in-law from hell. That family is the focus of this flick, which assumes you know the set up from NP I. If you don't there are enough references to Sherman's "multiple personality disorder," also known as Buddy Love, that you'll come up to snuff pretty quickly. That's not the exact explanation but it's close enough. As with, and surpassing the first flick, is exceptional makeup from Rick Baker and an almost overwhelming set of special effects in which all of Murphy's characters physically interact with each other in the same scene. It isn't just sharing a table, as in the numero uno. They move in and out and around, they touch, they take things off of other's plates, all done seamlessly. Top of the ladder is Murphy, whose characterizations are all unique and individual. Short of knowing that they're all Eddie Murphy, any novice would be hard pressed to tell 'em all apart -- myself included as Murphy gets credit for at least two more characters in the credits, and I missed those guys entirely!

Sherman, as always, is the proverbial two tons of fun. He's brilliant. He's fat and his self-consciousness about his weight has made him painfully alone. In the last year he's fallen for another genetics professor at Wellman College, the lovely (and boy do we mean lovely) Denise Gaines (Janet Jackson) who feels the same way. With the help of some heavy duty shrinkery, Sherman hopes that he can control the demon inside (ie. Buddy Love) and maintain control, intending to pop the question to the fair Professor Gaines. That moment is pushed way up when she is offered full tenure at a college cross country in Maine. Determined to rid himself of the defective piece of DNA that generated Buddy, Sherman does the biological experimentational nasty to his good self one lightning strewn night. The eventual result, though, is a fully formed independent Buddy Love -- and a real dog the man is -- and a seemingly unstoppable ever increasing destruction of brain matter. Yes, genius Sherman is becoming a moron at a time when his discovery of a "Fountain of Youth" potion stands to bring a $150 millions contract to the school. Yes, Buddy is right there to steal the contract away. Yes, the lovely Professor Gaines is ready to be at Sherman's side, if he were able to tell her the truth . . .

Gee, sounds like a soap opera, don't it? Thank Goodness (as Mama Klump would put it) for a healthy dose of remarkably non-gross boner, fart and other gags involving bodily functions and things which mammals expel from their lower regions.

There's nothing in The Klumps that is so incredibly gross and offensive that you need to be warned about it. I think the PG-13 rating pretty much indicates that the toilet humor jokes are fit for teens but not necessarily little kidlets. The Klumps is a cartoon. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Personally, Murphy's work is terrific, though the more elderly characters tend to mumble -- and the rock 'n' roll deafened ears couldn't make out half of the dialog. No deductions for that, though in general there's little here that can't wait for the small screen.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, he would have paid...

$4.00

pay-per-view level or dateflick necessitating the purchase of an extra large popcorn to share during the schmaltzy moments and to spit across the theater when the fart jokes start flying.

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