Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

The default strategy of big-budget sequels generally involves compensating for an inherent lack of freshness by piling on more of what the audience presumably wants: more special effects, more characters, and more of whatever tested well the first time around. It's a tactic employed throughout Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, a scattershot, special-effects-heavy sequel powered by a curious mixture of enthusiastic vulgarity and affection for its characters. It's an odd sort of alchemy broad enough to include both a grotesque running gag about a withered grandma's out-of-control libido and an anachronistically chaste romance between its leads, but it only works sporadically. The Klumps' sketchy plot—undernourished even for a sequel—concerns obese college professor Eddie Murphy's simultaneous attempts to control unpredictable alter ego Buddy Love (who early on takes physical form apart from him) and prepare for marriage to a miscast Janet Jackson. Murphy excels at multiple-character roles, and The Klumps is at its best when it focuses on the loving but raucous relationship between members of his warmly rendered, unmistakably blue-collar family, all played by Murphy in elaborate make-up and a variety of fat suits. Murphy lends dignity and humanity to even the crassest caricature, and his gently satiric depiction of black family life is the heart and soul of The Klumps. But he seems just as bored with his Buddy Love character as the filmmakers, and Love's sporadic appearances, a highlight of the first film, feel punishingly arbitrary here. A slew of self-consciously tasteless setpieces fall curiously flat, most notably a bit in which comedian and character actor Larry Miller is anally raped by a giant hamster and an extended Armageddon/Star Wars parody that exists solely for the sake of some surprisingly lyrical flatulence. Though it takes an unexpectedly eccentric route to mediocrity, The Klumps still feels unnecessary, an underwhelming sequel with glimmers of hope drowned out by the mercenary nature of its existence.


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