The Nutty Professor (1996 film)

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The Nutty Professor
Nutty professor ver1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Shadyac
Produced by Brian Grazer
Russell Simmons
Screenplay by David Sheffield
Barry W. Blaustein
Tom Shadyac
Steve Oedekerk
Based on The Nutty Professor 
by Jerry Lewis
Bill Richmond
Starring
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Julio Macat
Edited by Don Zimmerman
Production
  company
Imagine Entertainment
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) June 28, 1996[citation needed]
Running time 95 min.[citation needed]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $54 million (estimated)[citation needed]
Box office $273,961,019[citation needed]

The Nutty Professor is a 1996 American comedy film starring Eddie Murphy. It is a remake of the 1963 film of the same name, which starred Jerry Lewis. The film co-stars Jada Pinkett, James Coburn, Dave Chappelle, Larry Miller, and John Ales. Montell Jordan has a cameo role as himself. The original music score was composed by David Newman. The film won Best Makeup at the 69th Academy Awards.

Murphy portrays a university professor, Sherman Klump, who is morbidly obese. A research scientist, academic, and lecturer, Klump develops a miraculous, but experimental, weight-loss pharmaceutical, and, hoping to win the affection of the girl of his dreams, tests it upon himself. Like the original film's Julius Kelp, Klump's trim, stylish, but arrogant alter ego also takes the name "Buddy Love". Murphy plays a total of seven characters in the film, including Sherman, most of Sherman's family (except for his nephew, Ernie Klump Jr. played by actor Jamal Mixon), and an over-the-top parody of Richard Simmons.

The film received positive reviews, with critics particularly praising the makeup and Murphy's performance. The film's success spawned a sequel, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, which was released in 2000. The film was re-released on Blu-ray combo pack on March 6, 2012, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Universal Studios.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

At Wellman College, thousands of hamsters overrun the entire campus, causing general chaos. This is due to the massively obese, yet loving and kind-hearted, professor Sherman Klump (Eddie Murphy), who accidentally releases them by grazing the switch that opens the hamster's cages. Meanwhile, Sherman has constructed an experimental formula that reconstructs the DNA of an obese person in a way that allows them to lose weight more easily.

After class, Sherman meets and instantly falls in love with Carla Purty (Jada Pinkett), a chemistry graduate student who is a big fan of his work. After dinner with his obese, impolite family, Sherman asks Carla out on a date, which she accepts, much to Sherman's pleasant surprise. At the date, it begins well with Carla showing admiration for Sherman's work, but the club's wicked comic Reggie Warrington (Dave Chappelle) heckles him about his obesity in front of the entire nightclub. Sherman becomes depressed and has a nightmare in which he becomes a giant and wrecks the city with just a single fart, which is then accidentally lit on fire. He tests the serum on himself and loses 300 pounds in seconds. Overwhelmed by his thinness, he goes out and buys many normal size clothing as a celebration, as well as puts a $47,000 Viper sports car on his faculty expense account.

To conceal his true identity, Sherman adopts a fake name, "Buddy Love", and invites Carla out on a date at the same club again (while the serum begins to wear off). Reggie is present again and Buddy takes revenge and heckles him mercilessly. Sherman's "Buddy" persona starts to develop an independent personality due to the heightened testosterone levels of the transformation, causing him to be overly assertive and confident. Klump's assistant Jason (John Ales) witnesses Buddy fleeing the scene after he is identified as the person who left Klump's credit card on the bar, following Buddy into his car and witnessing the transformation back into Klump. The next morning, Dean Richmond (Larry Miller) has set up a meeting with wealthy Harlan Hartley at The Ritz to have Sherman explain the serum and potentially have Hartley give $10 million to the science department. Sherman arrives at The Ritz as Buddy with Carla. When the dean spots him, Carla asks Buddy if he will take Sherman's place. He does, and he takes all the credit of his work to Hartley (James Coburn). Hartley and the dean are very impressed with his work, and the dean invites him to the Alumni Ball the next night. Meanwhile, Buddy picks up three beautiful women, much to Carla's anger who dumps him and walks out. He then invites the three women back to his place for the night.

After the falling out with Carla, Dean Richmond gleefully telling Sherman that Buddy will be taking his place at the Alumni Ball, and seeing a taunting video tape from his alter ego, Sherman has had enough and destroys all of the serum samples. Unfortunately, Buddy has planned for this and hidden a sample in one of Sherman's diet shake cans, which Sherman drinks, causing him to transform into Buddy again. Jason tries to stop him from going to the ball, but Buddy knocks him out and departs. At the ball, Buddy demonstrates the effects of the serum to the audience, but Jason arrives in time, as he has found out that Buddy's testosterone levels are at a lethally high 60,000%. The two of them get into a brief fist fight, but Sherman begins to fight Buddy from within. Sherman eventually transforms into his regular self and admits to the shocked audience, including his parents, of his misdeeds, that Buddy was who he thought he and everybody else wanted him to be, and that he should accept himself for who he is. As he leaves, Carla stops him and asks why he lied; he says he did not believe that she would accept him, but she says it doesn't matter if he is overweight or not. The film ends with Sherman and Carla dancing, and Hartley giving the grant to Sherman because he is "a brilliant scientist and a gentleman."

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The Nutty Professor was the first Tom Shadyac film to feature outtakes over the closing credits.[citation needed] The film also features a series of scenes with Murphy and comedian Dave Chappelle who plays insult comic, Reggie Warrington. Much of their dialogue was improvised.[citation needed] Murphy was one of Chappelle's biggest comedic influences.[1] The cruel nightclub comedian, "Reggie Warrington" is named after Reginald and Warrington Hudlin, brothers and directors of Murphy's previous film Boomerang.[citation needed]

While the film was made with the help of Jerry Lewis (he was an executive producer for both this film and the 2000 sequel Nutty Professor II: The Klumps), he later recanted his position in an interview in the January 30/February 6, 2009 edition of Entertainment Weekly magazine. He is quoted as saying, "I have such respect for Eddie, but I should not have done it. What I did was perfect the first time around and all you're going to do is diminish that perfection by letting someone else do it."[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The Nutty Professor has received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gaves the film a score of 65% based on reviews from 54 critics.[2] On Metacritic gives the film a score of 62 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[3]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4, calling it "a movie that's like a thumb to the nose for everyone who said [Murphy had] lost it. He's very good. And the movie succeeds in two different ways: it's sweet and good-hearted, and then again it's raucous slapstick and bathroom humor. I liked both parts."[4] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, writing "You can feel Murphy rediscovering his joy as a performer. He rediscovers it, too, as Sherman Klump, a fellow who, much like Murphy, is on the bottom rung, desperate to reinvent himself, and — at long last — does."[5]

Awards[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. U.S. R&B
1996 The Nutty Professor
  • Released: June 4, 1996
  • Label: Def Jam
8 1
  • US: Platinum

References[edit]

External links[edit]