xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
My guess is, most of the reviews of "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" will deliver perfunctory praise to the makeup and move on quickly to the comedy. But we're not talking garden-variety "makeup" here. We're talking about a rather astonishing creative collaboration between Eddie Murphy and makeup artist Rick Baker, with considerable help from director Peter Segal and cinematographer Dean Semler, to populate the movie with eight different characters, all played by Murphy, all convincing, each with its own personality. This is not just a stunt. It is some kind of brilliance.
Yes, it appears in a comedy of determined vulgarity. Yes, some of those long sessions of five hours in makeup were put at the service of scenes involving giant hamster sex and flammable farts. Yes, the story meanders. But yes, "Nutty II" is often very funny and never less than amazing, when you consider the work and imagination that went into Murphy's creation of the Klump family (Sherman, Granny, Mama, Papa, Papa when he was younger and Ernie) and two other characters, Lance Perkins and the diabolical alter ego Buddy Love.
Murphy has an uncanny gift for mimicry, for creating new characters out of thin air. That showed as early as "Saturday Night Live," of course. In Steve Martin's underappreciated "Bowfinger" (1999), he plays two characters more or less without help from makeup: the movie superstar Kit Ramsey, who looks a lot like Murphy, and a doofus named Jiff, who looks a lot like Kit and is hired to play his double. This isn't simply a double role. Kit and Jiff are two different people, and Jiff is actually the funnier and more involving one; he was so abashed when he found out they wanted to put him in a movie that we couldn't help liking him.
The many Klumps played by Murphy in "Nutty II" are much broader characters, and yet Professor Sherman Klump, the family hero, also has that strain of sweetness: He is likable, vulnerable and naive, and we can understand why his research assistant Denise (Janet Jackson) might want to marry him. We understand even better when he hires a Mexican band to stand under her window while he serenades her, although that touching scene is interrupted when Buddy Love takes over his personality.