The Nutty Professor The regrettably titled Nutty Professor II: The Klumps suffers from the very mistakes so nimbly avoided by the '96 hit. Its makers are mostly content to recycle the more memorable comic situations of its precursor, right down to the lengthy dream sequence in which Sherman imagines the havoc resulting from his biological abnormalities. Director Peter Segal simply amplifies, rather than builds upon, what worked the last time out; NP2K is, by and large, an expansion of the Shadyac film's infamous dinner-table sequence, a technical tour de force in which the Klump family--all embodied by Murphy, laboring under acres of prosthetics--break bread, then wind. As the title indicates, the Klumps' roles have been significantly beefed up for the sequel, affording the viewer the opportunity to savor the unparalleled spectacle of withered, toothless Grandma Klump going down on Buddy Love (yes, Murphy again) in a hot tub. The Klumps deserve more screen time, true, but not at Buddy's expense. Nutty Professor II features far too little Love--by far the funniest of Murphy's incarnations in the series. Buddy never gets the killer set piece he deserves; there's nothing here on par with the breathtaking showdown with Dave Chappelle's mega-obnoxious comic in the '96 version. Even worse, the new film kicks off by physically separating Buddy from Sherman, draining him like plasma from the professor's veins and later reconstituting him thanks to some stray DNA. It's a serious misstep, for the bite of NP1 (and the Lewis original even more so) lies in the fact that Buddy, self-assured bordering on predatory, is the ladies' man "ideal" that Sherman aspires to and would be if given half a chance. By turning Buddy from the manifestation of Sherman's unconscious--and, by extension, the collective unconscious of the American playboy--into little more than a pesky virus quickly expunged, Segal drains the concept of its subversive edge.
With the wicked Buddy largely repressed, the focus shifts to Sherman, and Segal does his damnedest to reduce him to a pathetic figure. Nutty Professor II exemplifies the current schizophrenic state of American film comedy, juxtaposing tear-jerking episodes with scenes of flame-throwing flatulence. As for Murphy, he's as terrific as ever, but someone should tell him that less is more. His virtuosic turn in NP1 was justified by a compelling narrative; in the sequel his virtuosity has become its own justification. And when a movie star fellates himself onscreen, a metaphorical reading is inevitable.