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Film / The Nutty Professor (1996)

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The Remake of The Nutty Professor released in 1996, starring Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Eddie Murphy, and co-starring Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy. The success of the remake led to a sequel, with Janet Jackson amid the various Eddie Murphys.

Brilliant and obese scientist Sherman Klump invents a miraculous weight-loss solution. After a date with chemistry student Carla Purty goes badly, a depressed Klump tries the solution on himself. Though he instantly loses 250 pounds, the side effects include a second personality: an obnoxiously self-assertive braggart who calls himself Buddy Love. Buddy proves to be more popular than Sherman, but his arrogance and bad behavior quickly spiral out of control.

The film spawned a sequel in 2000, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, though it wasn't as successful at the first film.

The Nutty Professor provide examples of:

  • Acrofatic: During his exercising montage to try to lose weight, Sherman gains a realistic degree of agility.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The first half of the film is relatively faithful to the original; the second half is largely its own work, with an ending that's pretty much the same as the original.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Julius Kelp becomes Sherman Klump, and Stella Purty becomes Carla Purdy.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original Buddy is pretty obnoxious and conceited but doesn't do anything villainous. In this film, Buddy starts out as a likable guy but becomes evil as the film progresses, eventually attempting to make the transformation stable and permanent which would cause Sherman's identity to be entirely consumed and replaced by that of Buddy (as opposed to Sherman's being killed outright).
  • An Aesop: As with the original movie — Be Yourself. Don't try to be somebody you're not to win others' affections.
  • All for Nothing: Although Carla forgives Sherman for lying about his true identity, she still does not enter a romantic relationship with him. Instead, they settle for platonic friendship.
  • Alliterative Name: Harlan Hartley.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: The Klumps when Sherman brings Carla over. They talk openly about sex, bodily functions, marriage, and other embarrassing topics, so much so that Sherman tries to slit his wrists with a butter knife.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In Sherman's Kaiju dream, Carla gives Sherman an annoyed look when he goes for a turkey leg instead of her.
  • Artistic License: Somatotypes. There are three main somatotypes in which people can be classified, and Sherman quite accurately describes one (Endomorph) while explaining why he was dieting to his parents in the first film. The formula he was working on was supposed to alter or deactivate endomorphic genes, allowing one to naturally lose more weight, and in the first scene with Shelly the hamster, it is implied to do just that. However, when Sherman takes the serum, over half of his body fat mysteriously vanishes in about thirty seconds, and his skin shrinks to fit.
  • Arc Words: "Yes, I can!"
  • Ascended Extra: Sherman's parents, compared to the original film. They appear far more often, and get along quite well with each other. Even more so in the sequel, actually called The Klumps.
  • As Himself: Montell Jordan appears as the singer performing at The Scream during Sherman and Carla's first date, with backup dancers and all. He performs two of his own songs, though weirdly neither of them is I Like, which appeared in the movie's soundtrack.
  • Aside Glance: Provides the page image.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Sherman has a nightmare where he gets fatter and fatter and bigger and bigger and goes on a rampage through the city.
  • Bait-and-Switch: During Sherman's King Kong nightmare, he spots Carla in a hotel room, smashes through the window... and reaches past her for a turkey drumstick. The look on her face seems to show she's thoroughly insulted by this.
  • Batman Gambit: Buddy knew Sherman would destroy the serum samples to prevent him from turning into Buddy anymore. As such, he poured some of it into one of Sherman's diet shake cans.
  • Battle Cry: After his first transformation, Sherman/Buddy proudly stands up on on top of the college he works in shouting this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jason shows up at the ball just in time to stop Buddy from attempting to kill Sherman and exposes his true identity.
  • Big "WHY?!": When Buddy shows up at The Scream an hour late, an impatient Carla tries to leave him alone there. Buddy goes out of his way to get her to stay... mainly by making a larger-than-life scene.
    Buddy: Of all nights this has got to happen to me tonight! WHY?!
    Carla: [pleading] Okay.
    Buddy: [big gasp] WHY?!
    Carla: [through her teeth] Okay!
    Buddy: [bigger gasp] WHYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?
    Carla: Shh! Okay, okay, okay!
  • Blunt "Yes":
    Carla: Professor, are you asking me out on a date?
    Sherman: [bashful] Yes. Yes, I am.
    Carla: I'd love to!
  • Body Horror: A completely tame example of this occurs whenever Buddy Love reverts back to Sherman Klump. Body parts become swollen as he regains all that excess body weight, and at one point he ends up with a grotesquely oversized lower lip.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dean Richmond whenever there's a hamster around.
  • Catchphrase: Lance Perkins has two: "Let's get busy!" and "Yes, I can!"
  • Cluster F-Bomb: This film put television censors through their paces; it's one of those films that might have been rated R if it had one more swear in it.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: A variant, in that the line itself isn't said; the morning after Buddy throws his wild party in Sherman's house, Buddy retroforms into Sherman, and one of Buddy's call girls asks Sherman where Buddy is in front of Carla.
  • Compartment Shot: There is a shot on Sherman from inside his microwave.
  • Culturally Sensitive Adaptation: In the original, the main character was crushing on one of his students. Even if she reciprocated and even if she was a consenting adult, a teacher dating a student would still be frowned on. In the remake, Carla is an older grad student, which puts her more on Sherman's level and is a bit more acceptable.
  • Dean Bitterman: A mild case with Dean Richmond, who can be a Reasonable Authority Figure given the right circumstances, but for the most part is exasperated at the repeated mishaps that Sherman causes (which are indicated to have cost the college more than a couple of sponsors), resulting in his repeatedly threatening Sherman with dire consequences if he doesn't get it together.
  • Death of Personality: Buddy Love's ultimate endgoal, to get rid of Sherman Klump forever.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Sherman seems to have a history of being this.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Buddy calculates the necessary amount of formula he'd need to ingest to make the transformation into himself permanent, but he has to divide the formula across two doses as drinking that much formula at once would be fatal, which gives Jason time to help Sherman distract Buddy long enough for the formula to wear off.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Klumps. While Ernie mostly provides humorous commentary, Sherman's parents bicker back and forth, and his grandmother does quite a bit of arguing with his father.
  • Fan Disservice: During his workout montage, Sherman is in desperate need of a powerful sports bra.
  • Fantastic Drug: The formula in some ways acts like a harmful drug, right down to Sherman developing a dependence on it due to the confidence it imbues him.
  • Fat and Proud: None of Sherman's family understand why Sherman would be so focused on losing weight, as they consider their weight to be a source of pride that they love showing off, damn what anyone else might think.
  • Fat Comic Relief: The entire Klump family IN SPADES.
  • Fatherly Scientist: Sherman in regards to Shelley, an obese hamster he has great empathy and affection for.
  • Farts on Fire: In Sherman's nightmare, some homeless man lights a cigarette at the worst possible time and blows the city sky high due to the gas from Sherman's fart.
  • Fighting from the Inside: When Buddy attempts to take Sherman's life for his own, Sherman decides to fight back for control of his body. In the climax, it becomes a literal case, and he succeeds.
  • Gasshole: Cletus Klump.
    • Sherman himself is a couple of times but only in his dreams, where his father encourages it.
    • Ernie Jr. is several times.
  • Gentle Giant: Sherman, to a fault. He's so mild mannered and shy that he's unable to defend himself from the insults of others.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Sherman gets fired once a film, and before then, the dean seems to always be looking for an excuse to get rid of him.
  • Gold Digger: Dean Richmond is a shameless sycophant when it comes to any donor who shows interest in giving the school money for Sherman's research.
  • The Heckler: On his second encounter with the Insult Comic, Buddy so thoroughly dismantles the guy that it becomes a Curb-Stomp Battle both comedically and physically.
  • Heavy Voice: Played straight; the whole Klump family, Sherman Klump included, has a lower voice than Buddy Love, who inhabits the same body as Sherman but with less weight. In fact, of all the multiple characters he plays in both movies (being the Klumps besides Buddy Love), Buddy Love (even being the all-time antagonist) is the only character Eddie Murphy plays using his real voice and appearance.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: About five minutes' worth during the credits.
  • The Hyena: Buddy plays with it at times. It goes into full force when he encounters Reggie Warrington in person, especially during the "Your Mom is so fat" scene. Jason attributes it to high testosterone levels.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • After Sherman turns himself into Buddy Love right before an all-important meeting with Harlan Hartley, Jason tries to get through to Sherman. Buddy just looks at Jason like he's crazy for a few seconds, then pretends to be Sherman struggling to get through to Jason, just long enough to lock him in a supply closet.
    • During the climax, Mama Klump tries to call for Sherman as he fights Buddy Love.
  • I Meant to Do That: After his date and auto accident, Sherman arrives at school late, finding his classroom empty except for Dean Richmond telling him this. Sherman tells him it's part of an experiment, trying to see how students would act in a teacherless environment.
  • Imagine Spot: Sherman has two of them, one where he buries Carla into the sand with his body weight, and one where he becomes so fat that he becomes a Kaiju terrorizing the city.
  • Insult Comic: Reggie Warrington.
  • Ironic Echo: Dean Richmond threatens Sherman if he screws up his meeting with Hartley, telling him he'll literally kill him by strangling him until his air runs out. Near the end Buddy, clearly growing tired of Richdmond's ass-kissing, repeats the exact same threat to him.
  • Jerkass: The insult comic Reggie Warrington.
    • Buddy Love. He appears to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at first, but it soon becomes apparent that he cares about nobody but himself.
    • Also Granny Klump could be considered one because of how she not only talks the most cross of all the Klumps, but also because she is the least classy and is most crude and vulgar of them all. Even with the way she always insults Cletus and making them verbally always at each other's throats trading back and forth personal insults which always bothers Anna (Sherman's mother.) Not to mention how vulgar she is by going as far as the stunt she pulls on Buddy Love thinking that he is a male stripper which actually is bad enough to gross out a vulgarly perverted man like him to the point of making him vomit. These along with all the examples with her show you that she has the least moral conduct of all the Klumps.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cletus Klump, Sherman's father. The "heart of gold" is more evident in the sequel, but he does have a point when he tries to discourage Sherman's dieting: that everyone should stop trying to fit into the media's narrow definition of beauty, because we're not all supposed to look the same.
    • Ernie Klump to some extent. He gives Sherman practical advice on him losing weight, by telling him to exercise. Sherman later takes his advice and actually succeeds in getting in shape during the Training Montage. Of course Reggie had to ruin his self-confidence later on.
  • Layman's Terms: Dean Richmond asks Buddy to explain the formula in this.
    Buddy: Oh! You mean for rich white dummies!
  • Line-of-Sight Name: When needing a name for his alter ego, a security guard comes in and asks "Hey, buddy, what the hell happened here?" After Carla asks for Buddy's last name, he looks into her eyes and says "Love".
  • Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: There is no doubt about it, that Cletus and Mama Klump love Sherman, so when his best friend and colleague accuses Buddy Love of murdering him this line cements it:
    Buddy Love: (demonstrating his weight formula) I am about to make a 400 pound fat man disappear forever!
    Jason: (arriving in time) NOOOOOOOO! WAIT! I can not let you do this anymore! THIS... HAS GOT... TO STOP! (arrives onto the stage) Ladies and gentlemen... (points to Buddy) this man is trying to kill Professor Sherman Klump!
    (audience gasps)
  • Mean Boss/Dean Bitterman: Richmond, the dean of the university that Sherman Klump works at, frequently insults Sherman Klump's obesity and makes no secret of his contempt of Klump.
  • Meaningful Echo: Buddy to Dean Richmond: "Who you think you talkin' to, Sherman Klump? Man, if you ever talk to me like that again, I'll kill you. And I don't mean it as euphemism, I'm gonna literally kill you. I'm gonna strangle you and cut off your air supply until you pass away."
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The fact that the last name of the universally overweight Klumps sounds like "plump" is obvious. The word "clump" can mean a lump of something.
    • Carla Purty, an attractive female student whose surname sounds like the Southern pronunciation of the word "pretty". Denise Gains in the 2000 sequel, as she's shown to fit into Ana's old wedding dress.
  • Nice Guy: Sherman is a very friendly, polite and intelligent man who is respected by his students and coworkers. His parents are friendly as well, despite being embarrassing for Sherman.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Sherman has a nightmare after he falls asleep while watchin' TV, in which he grows into a rampaging giant and wrecks the city with a massive fart that is ignited to cause an explosion.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lance Perkins is a clear Expy of Richard Simmons.
  • No Indoor Voice: Buddy speaks with a loud voice.
  • Not Hyperbole: Dean Richmond gives a memorable example. It bites him in the ass when Buddy spits it back at him in Meaningful Echo above.
    If anything goes wrong, for any reason... I'm going to kill you. And I don't mean that as a euphemism, I am going to literally kill you. I'm going to strangle you and choke off your air supply until you pass away.
  • N-Word Privileges: The Klumps (sans Sherman) and Buddy.
  • Oblivious to Love: Possibly a good description of Sherman's relationship with Carla; he continues to believe that Carla is more attracted to Buddy than him, not registering that her reference to being attracted to the person she sees in Buddy's eyes is a reference to her caring for him rather than Buddy.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sherman when he wakes up next to three hookers after a night of partying (as Buddy), especially when Carla shows up.
  • Painful Transformation: Sherman is in terrible pain every time he transforms into Buddy Love.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Buddy's putdown of Reggie Warrington.
    Buddy: I've heard of dreadlocks, but shitlocks?
  • Piano Cover Slam: Buddy Love's first form of revenge against insult comedian Reggie Warrington, who made fun of Sherman Klump's weight repeatedly on his first date, is to give him A Taste of Their Own Medicine by getting up on stage and repeatedly insulting the weight of Reggie's mother. Once Reggie finally loses his temper and tries attacking Buddy, Buddy wipes the floor with him, and rounds off his roast by playing a round on the piano, right before slamming the fallboard on Reggie's fingers, just to make him scream like a little girl.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Right after Buddy explains to Jason how he plans to permanently take over:
    Buddy: If you don't mind, I have a date at the alumni ball, and you have a date with linoleum.
    Jason: Who?
    [cue Buddy punching Jason out]
  • Punched Across the Room: Before the climactic fight, Buddy decks Jason towards the instrument set to prevent the magical vial from being confiscated, calling it "a short musical interlude."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The climactic scene where Sherman Klump and Buddy Love battle for control of the same body.
    Buddy Love: You can't beat me!
    [Sherman's side beats up Buddy]
    Sherman Klump: YES! I! CAAAAAAAN!
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Jason analyzes the data from the transformation and finds that Buddy's testosterone levels are dangerously high.
  • Self-Deprecation: Buddy Love, like Lewis' version, is a parody of their own actor taken to extreme, Eddie Murphy.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: This is a main plot point, as in the original. The titular professor invents a way to change himself from a rather overweight guy into a smooth ladies man.
  • Showing Off the New Body: Sherman after getting slim.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: All of the Klumps, except for Sherman. Mostly, Cletus. Buddy Love definitely becomes one. The insult comic Reggie Warrington is definitely by far.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: Klump accidentally lets loose all the hamsters on the campus. One climbed into a male student's pant legs and is then seen thrashing around near the guy's crotch. The girl he was talking to sees this and mistook it as him having a huge throbbing penis to her pleasant surprise.
  • Straight Man: Professor Sherman Klump. Even though he's just as fat and kind of rugged-looking as the rest of them, unlike how his enemy, Buddy Love looks, Sherman is the only one of all the Klumps who behaves most decent and most respectfully and is always good-intentioned in all of his blunders.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Sherman talks about wanting to lose weight and his family are less than supportive, especially Cletus (only Ernie Sr. gives him decent advice, namely exercise). Truth in Television for many who have tried to lose weight in real life. Especially if the person's friends or family are overweight themselves.
    • When Sherman starts exercising to lose weight, he quickly gains stamina and agility and feels more confident in himself, but he's still morbidly obese and is easily demoralized when Reggie makes fun of him despite his progress.
  • Take That!: Dave Chapelle's character is an enormous take that to Uncle Tomfoolery and hacky stand-up comedy in general.
  • Technicolor Science: Sherman's lab features beakers with multi-colored liquids.
  • That Man Is Dead: When Carla confronts Buddy about Sherman, he simply disavows his other identity.
    Buddy Love: Sherman is gone, disappeared!
  • Trapped in Containment: Spoofed in the Nightmare Sequence where one of the docs can't make it out of the OP in time and gets squeezed to death by the ever-growing Sherman.
  • The Triple: Dean Richmond being a jerk to Sherman at the start of the movie.
    Dean Richmond: Can I get you anything? Juice? Coffee? Rack of lamb?
  • Toilet Humor: The movie has a lot of fart jokes, as well as implied soiled pants. In both of them, the whole Klump family except for Sherman (including Buddy Love and some others) use foul language, and do socially revolting things.
    • These scenes are actually parodying people who act exactly like this in real life. It's actually scary how accurately it portrays the Klumps.
  • Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: Sherman and Buddy.
  • Uncle Tom Foolery: Sherman's family, especially his father Cletus. Buddy Love also indulges in it a bit.
  • Undying Loyalty: Jason to Professor Klump, he even goes as far as punching Buddy in the face when trying to stop him from eliminating Sherman for good.
  • Villain Protagonist: Buddy at first, until it becomes clear that he's a completely separate persona and plans to take over Sherman's life.
  • Virgin in a White Dress: When Sherman brings Carla over for dinner, Grandma Klump notes that he can wear a white tuxedo, because "Sherman's never had relations."
  • Weight Woe: What Sherman struggles with and why he uses the formula on himself.
  • Your Mom: Reggie cracks a "Your Mother Is Fat" joke to rile up Buddynote  after he gets a taste of his own medicine from him, but it only made Buddy feel unfazed and one-up him without any chance of allowing him a proper comeback. This results in Reggie breaking down and attempt to do a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on him. However, he fails at his "street karate" and Buddy Curb Stomps him.