Monday, July 31, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 163 

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The Klumps has its moments but collapses under own weight

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Universal Pictures
Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Grade: D+

By Keenan Singleton
Daily Cougar Staff

The man of 400-plus faces, Eddie Murphy, is back to reprise his role as the 400-plus pound Sherman Klump and his highly dysfunctional family, the Klumps, in the sequel to 1996's outrageously successful Nutty Professor, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

And as with most sequels, this effort is (pardon the pun) a huge disappointment.

This time around, Sherman has a new love interest, Denise Gaines (Janet Jackson), a new serum, and the same old problems -- namely his alter-ego, Buddy Love.

Jackson, who hasn't starred in a film since John Singleton's Poetic Justice, actually turns in a better-than-expected performance as Sherman's new squeeze.

"Janet Jackson was a natural fit, and an obvious choice," director Peter Segal said.

Murphy adds, "I've known for years that she's a good actress. I remember watching her on TV on Good Times when she was just a little girl. Now, she's a superstar and a really talented woman."

For those who have forgotten, Love is the overtly-aggressive, troublesome and slimmer version of Sherman, whose only purpose in life is to cause calamities for the portly Sherman.

After an implausible creation, Love "sniffs" out Sherman's newest formula, a recipe for regaining a person's lost youth.

"I like Buddy Love in this movie," Murphy said. "He's more aggressive. Before he was just trying to take Sherman's girl and mess his life up, but now he's out, and all over the place. There's just a lot more to play with."

Initially confined to just two scenes at the dinner table in the first Nutty Professor, the Klumps become more animated characters in the sequel.

"Movies are entirely subjective," producer Brian Grazer said. "You just don't know what will work and be most liked. When it became clear that the Klumps were the stars of the movie, a sequel was evident: make the family members more three-dimensional characters, and develop a sub-plot for each of them."

"This movie isn't about an unhappy Sherman trying to find his love and accept his appearance like the first film," Murphy said.

Sherman met his true love, and while he's still the central character, his family is no longer peripheral. They're really a part of the story with big, meaty roles.

Murphy successfully steals the spotlight from himself as the booty-hungry, Stone Phillips-obsessed, Granny Klump.

Granny and her geriatric boyfriend, Isaac, spend the majority of the movie involved in anything and everything sexual.

The subplot deals with the bedroom problems of Mama and Papa Klump. Sherman's brother Ernie, as in the first movie, is like having sunscreen lotion in Antarctica -- useless.

Save for Granny's antics, a few chuckle-worthy scenes and Buddy's ultimate demise toward the end of the film, NPII is just another second-rate Eddie Murphy (like Life and Bowfinger) comedy.

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