Nutty's a gas, but it sputters out

Friday, July 28th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps opens buoyantly, outrageously at a wedding, with Eddie Murphy in high form as lumbering Prof. Sherman Klump, plus seven other characters -- including the ancient Granny Klump and Sherman's puckishly naughty alter-ego Buddy Love.

Played out to the tune of Oh Happy Day, it's a joyous and wickedly funny couple of minutes ushering in Nutty II with promises of many more laughs to come. That promise gets brighter as the film rolls merrily onward into a sequence where the heavyweight Klumps demolish an all-you-can-eat restaurant buffet, then move on to skewering each other over dinner. Granny takes aim at her son, Cletus, who is in a bad way, what with being fired from his job and having no fire left in his sex life.

This wacky burlesque also astonishes with its amazing special effects that bring the Klumps to life, a device that Murphy used as far back as Coming to America in 1988.

But alas, at the midway point Nutty II runs out of steam (though not gas) as the script -- credited to four writers -- exhausts its supply of off-color jokes and below-the-belt humor. It has nowhere to go but to keep trying to top itself in a torrent of sex, fart and pee-pee jokes that overwhelm its characters and its slim plot.

In Murphy's first go at the nutty professor four years ago, in a film based on an old Jerry Lewis movie, the wallflower Sherman discovered a potion that turned him into the raging ladies man, Buddy Love. This time Buddy is locked inside him, but is more and more boldly screaming to get out. He makes Sherman blurt out salacious lines at the most unfortunate times. It's getting so bad that the love of Sherman's life, the beautiful Denise Gaines (Janet Jackson), is beginning to have doubts.

So Sherman, who is on the verge of becoming hailed worldwide for inventing a youth formula that works at least temporarily, decides to vacuum Buddy out of his DNA and become himself. However, through a lab accident involving a Bassett hound, a fragment of Buddy's DNA manages to reconstitute itself -- like frozen orange juice -- into flesh and blood . . . but with a sudden desire to chase balls and bark at dogs. The maniacal, mean-spirited Buddy is on the loose, trying to steal Sherman's youth formula.

Some of this is funny, but if there's a chance to go for a cheap-shot sex joke or have someone release gas, Nutty II will grab it and run with it . . . into the ground. This includes a horny hamster who has grown to an 8-foot-tall monster and the even hornier Granny Klump who keeps talking about her stud-muffin husband, a shriveled geezer who looks half dead. Granny's plain-spokenness about sexual matters is unexpected and funny at first. But the character has nothing else to say and, like much of the rest of the story, keeps rummaging through the same material, looking more and more desperate to find a laugh . . . any laugh.

At least the movie's special effects magic gives Murphy, who plays both Granny Klump and the leering Buddy Love in one scene, the opportunity to kiss himself. But then that may be what Nutty Professor II: The Klumps is really all about after all.


Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Starring : Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, Larry Miller, John Ales, Richard Gant.

Producers: A Universal picture written by Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield, Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz, directed by Peter Segal.

Rated : PG-13, contains adult themes.

Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes.