Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps

Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps (2000)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson
Extras: Commentaries, Featurette, Deleted & Extended Scenes, Makeup Application, Storyboards, Music Video, Outtakes, Theatrical Trailers, Cast & Crew, Production Notes

American filmgoers spend millions, if not billions, of dollars each year going to the movies and viewing home videos. However, despite all of that money being spent, there are times when it seems that Hollywood doesn’t listen to the consumer. (And then movies flop and the executives are left scratching their heads as to why no one wanted to see the movie. For example, did we really need a "Blair Witch" sequel?) Sure, filmmakers respond to trends and try to cash in on what’s popular, but do they ever really listen to audience feedback? Well, it appears that the answer must be yes. Most anyone who saw 1996’s "The Nutty Professor" would agree that the best scenes were the ones involving Sherman Klump’s family. These hilarious scenes (which, it turns out, were almost not filmed due to time and cost) overshadowed the rest of the film. The producers of "The Nutty Professor" heard this reaction from the audience and decided that the sequel should focus more on the family, which, in turn, brings us "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps". Now, star Eddie Murphy’s talent is spread throughout the film as he plays no less than eight characters and is onscreen for the majority of the film. Universal Home Video is bringing "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" to DVD in a Collector’s Edition.

"Nutty Professor II" picks up a short time after the first film. Sherman Klump (Eddie Murphy) is working on a formula that isolates the aging process. He is dating a fellow professor, Denise Gaines (Janet Jackson), who has found a way to isolate and discard unwanted genes. Sherman is still haunted by Buddy Love and hasn’t truly recovered from the events of the first film. But, Denise has been accepted by Sherman’s family, and they plan to marry. Before the wedding, Sherman wants to be sure that all traces of Buddy Love are gone, so he uses Denise’s research to extract the remaining Buddy Love genes from his body. This plan backfires, as it releases Buddy Love into the real world with some interesting new character traits, and has a debilitating effect on Sherman. Now, it’s a race against time to stop Buddy and save Sherman. Also, "Nutty Professor II" features more of the Klumps (hence the title) and has subplots focusing on Papa (Eddie Murphy) and his issues with aging and on Grandma (Eddie Murphy) and her libido.

It must be said the "Nutty Professor II" works simply because of Eddie Murphy’s genius. I love the films where Eddie plays multiple characters and he truly shines in this movie. "Nutty Professor II" has plenty of laugh-out-loud scenes and director Peter Segal keeps the jokes coming one after another. The film is also one of the strangest studio films that I’ve ever seen. Nothing is taboo here and there are so many "dick and fart" jokes that Kevin Smith would blush. (I can’t help but wonder how this film ever got a PG-13 rating.) Every time you think that "Nutty Professor II" can’t go any farther, it does. It doesn’t push the envelope, it shreds it. Not that it’s the most disgusting or crude movie ever made, but there were several points in the film where I said to myself, "I can’t believe a major studio made this." The movie has plenty of great one-liners and prat-falls and there’s something in here to make everyone laugh, unless, of course, you’re particularly sensitive to vulgarities.

The Collector’s Edition DVD of "Nutty Professor II" from Universal Home Video is even bigger than Sherman Klump himself. We start with the movie, which is presented in an <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen>, <$PS,letterboxed> at 1.85:1. The image on this digital transfer is nearly perfect (as should be expected with a recent big-budget film). There is some noticeable grain during the opening shot, which has the camera tracking through the clouds, but other than that, the grain is the film is negligible. The image is very sharp and clear, and is free of any noise. There are no obvious defects from the source print. Besides the clarity of the image, another impressive feature are the colors. The hues on "Nutty Professor II" come across as natural and true. For a good example of this, check out the stained-glass windows in the wedding scene. The colors there virtually leap off of the screen. The image on the "Nutty Professor II" is very impressive and would fare very well when compared to any of the other recent DVDs, which were visually impressive.

While I had expected the video on the DVD to be state of the art, I must admit that I hadn’t expected much from the audio. Boy, was I wrong! The <$DD,Dolby Digital> 5.1 soundtrack is one of the best that I’ve ever heard on a comedy. The dynamic range and clever use of surround sound ranks right up there with most action or horror films. The best example of this comes at the 12:27 mark, where a spoon is thrown across the room. We hear the spoon flying through the room as the sound passes from the front speakers to the rear and then the spoon clatters to the floor in the right rear speaker. I listened to that sound effect about five times. (That may sound silly, but let’s face it, I paid for a home theater system, and I love any example of great surround sound!) Also, check out chapter 16, with its "Jurassic Park"-like roaring effect that shakes the subwoofer. Oh, I guess that I should mention that the dialogue is clear and audible (although it’s been reported that some people have difficulty understanding the Klumps) and there is no hiss on the soundtrack. This is truly a great sound mix to accompany the clear visuals.

The kudos for this DVD don’t stop with the audio/video presentation, as it is stuffed with special features, most of which focusing on the making of the film and its amazing special effects. First up is an <$commentary,audio commentary> with director Peter Segal. This is a fun commentary, as Segal is very easygoing and openly admits that the film isn’t art. Segal speaks consistently throughout the film, discussing the technical standpoints, such as the special visual effects and make-up, and other "making-of" tidbits. He also shares his feelings on the cast and describes the talents of Eddie Murphy and Janet Jackson with admiration and respect. I can’t help but wish that Eddie Murphy had been available to speak on the commentary as well, but as it stands, it’s a pretty good <$commentary,audio commentary>.

There is another feature on the DVD which is labeled as "A Conversation with Director Peter Segal and Producer Brian Grazer." Instead of being an interview, this turns out to another <$commentary,audio commentary>… sort of. Segal and Grazer speak while we watch the film, but only for 25 minutes of the movie. (And instead of being a separate audio track on the film, this is an entirely different track on the DVD!) The pair speak at length during this segment and the commentary is very funny and entertaining, which makes me wonder why they only did 25 minutes. The commentary ends with Segal saying, "Wanna stop here?", to which Grazer replies, "OK." This short, but odd commentary is a nice addition to the disc, but it only leaves one wanting more.

Actually, there is more Brian Grazer in the "Spotlight on Location", the 25-minute featurette which focuses on the making of "Nutty Professor II" and offers a great-deal of behind-the-scenes footage. "Spotlight on Location" features interviews with Grazer, Segal, make-up effects supervisor Rick Baker, visual effects supervisor Jon Farhat, as well as Eddie Murphy, Janet Jackson, and Larry Miller. We are treated to a great deal of behind-the-scenes footage, which illustrates how Murphy was able to play five or six people in a scene at once. There’s a nice shot of Eddie dressed as Mama Klump watching a shot on the video monitor. Another interesting point is that when Eddie is playing one of the characters, the other Klumps were represented on the set by tennis balls. This "Spotlight on Location" is a good blend of interviews, on the set footage, and scenes from the film. There are also two interesting quotes — Grazer states, "…Some of the scenes are almost censorable." Almost? And Eddie Murphy says, "This is a family movie." True, it’s about a family, but it’s not rated G for a reason.

Continuing with the behind-the-scenes theme, we are treated to a peak at how the special effects make-up process is done. There are two time-lapsed scenes, each running about 90 seconds, which show Eddie Murphy being transformed into Papa and then Ernie. Keep in mind, that 90 seconds represents about 5 hours in real-time. There are also storyboards, which are viewed side-by-side with their accompanying scene. We get to see the storyboards from the following scenes: "The Wedding", "Bachelorette Party", "The Hamster", and "Baby Buddy." With all of the special effects in the film, we get to see the necessity of mapping everything out before-hand.

From there, we go into the more standard special features. There is one deleted scene, which shows Sherman and Denise shopping for a house. It’s clear why this scene was cut. Then, we have an extended cut of the restaurant scene. Not much is added to this, but there were some good lines that didn’t make it into the final film. There are also several outtakes, which, of course, show Eddie Murphy ad-libbing and making everyone else crack up.

From the promotions department, we have the theatrical trailer for the "Nutty Professor II", which is <$PS,letterboxed> at 1.85:1. In the "Recommendations" section, you will find the trailer to "The Nutty Professor", which is also <$PS,letterboxed> at 1.85:1. Janet Jackson shows off her other talent in her music video for the song, "Doesn’t Really Matter", from the "Nutty Professor II" soundtrack. And the special features are rounded out by some lengthy and informative production notes and the cast & crew files.

It’s been a few days since I watched "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" and I’m still thinking about it. As I stated before, it’s, well… nutty. The movie has many funny scenes and many bizarre scenes, but it all does add up to a good time. The DVD of the film gives us a beautiful transfer that features a great surround sound mix. And just like the Klumps, the DVD is packed with unexpected pleasures and surprises. Don’t let Buddy Love stop you from checking out "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps".