Nutty Professor II – The Klumps

Nutty Professor II – The Klumps (12)

FIFTY years ago the late Sir Alec Guinness made film history by playing eight separate characters, all members of the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family, in the Ealing comedy classic Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Half a century later Eddie Murphy seeks to follow suit in this lame sequel in which he plays eight members of the same family.

But what was undisputed class in 1949 is here transformed into execrable crassness in a plot which relies almost exclusively on gross-out toilet humour with a star who appears hell-bent on pursuing a juvenile vanity project.

Perhaps it is unfair and ill-considered to compare this exercise in lowest denomination comedy to an established Ealing classic, but it is an indication of how far cinema has fallen that one of the biggest modern Hollywood stars can be paid millions for something as diabolically poor as this.

The plot picks up from the first film – itself an ill-advised remake of Jerry Lewis’ dreary yet innocent 1963 outing – in that rotund scientist Sherman Klump (Murphy), having rid himself of his foul-mouthed, libidinous alter ego Buddy Love (also Murphy), finds himself once again at his mercy.

Janet Jackson is the lithe love interest for whom Buddy makes a move, while the rest of the Klump clan – all Murphy in various guises – drift around on the periphery.

What Guinness did with clarity and wry humour in Kind Hearts and Coronets here becomes an unfunny, dull and largely offensive 107-minute test of endurance with a star who revels in jokes about flatulence, dentures and pendulous breasts. This stuff isn’t even on the level of schoolyard banter.

Like all truly awful films, the best bits are in the trailer, though inspiration was obviously present when the scriptwriters – there were four – dreamt up a dinner party sequence.

The scene depicting rape by giant hamster, however, is really as bad as it sounds.

At one point a character tells Sherman “You’re losing your intelligence”. Never was a truer word said. What was director Peter Segal thinking?

From class to crass in half a century. Says something, doesn’t it?

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