Saturday, March 15, 2014

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps


Norman is back at Chateau Maine from his semi-annual drying out cure and lobotomy. This means, of course, that I've been running my little heinie off making sure that the Courvoisier has been well hidden and that Joseph, my manager, isn’t sneaking Norman in a nip or two in that flask he thinks he has hidden in his walking stick. I’m on to that trick

I'm calmer than I've been for weeks as I’ve been creating my new performance art piece, Lester on Lister , a salute to bacteriology. I’m working on a stunning opening where, clad only in a surgical drape, I do interpretive dance to a chorus of ethereal voices chanting Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, and Erisypalothrix rhusopathiae. At the end of the bit, I douse the audience in buckets of carbolic acid and throw scrub brushes in the air for a bit of juggling. I tried it out on Norman last night – he thought it was sensational, although he did try to drink the carbolic.

Speaking of performance art, Norman and I did get back to our usual matinee outing this past week where we saw Eddie Murphy go through his paces in The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps This is a fairly funny movie, for those with a Rabelaisian bent, which allows us to watch Mr. Murphy change fat suits every other shot. The characters he creates are unique individuals and although stereotypical, they are oddly endearing and you do get the sense of a dysfunctional, yet loving family who stand together in their own unique way.

The plot is a farrago of nonsense about DNA extraction, and is completely inconsequential. It exists solely as a place to hang various routines allowing Mr. Murphy to show off his comic creations as the various members of the extended Klump family, lovable scientist Sherman, goofy mama, flatulent daddy, horny grandma, and loutish brother Ernie. There are a few other actors in the film, but they pale in comparison to Murphy’s antics. Janet Jackson, as the love interest, simply looks decorative and Larry Miller, as Sherman’s nemesis, the dean, is best remembered for a scene involving rodent sodomy (don’t ask…) I’ll have to give Eddie Murphy credit. It's the first movie in which there's not one, but two different sex scenes involving an actor playing multiple roles and he's believable as both halves of both couples. However, there’s also far more fart jokes than necessary including a dream sequence which seems to be included strictly to be able to punctuate Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz with flatulence at the appropriate musical moments.

Mr. Murphy relies a bit too much on the prosthetics and the make-up for his characters, and, while talented, will never hold a candle to Peter Sellers or Alec Guinness in their heyday. Those masters of the multi-role film could switch personae completely with a tilt of their head rather than relying quite so much on make-up. Murphy’s most successful creation is, perhaps, Mama Klump as she isn't quite as outrageous as the other members of the family and therefore comes across as more of a human and less of a comic device.

Norman, who never met a fart joke he didn't like, was more enthusiastic than I was but it was still a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Family buffet restaurants. Broken window. Gratuitous Chris Elliott. Flying hamster pellets. Hamster rape. Gratuitous Jackson family member. Unfunny 'Star Wars' parody. Gospel choir. Geriatric sex. Gratuitous mariachi band.

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