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Nutty Professor, The (1963)


It's funny cause his teeth are ugly!
It's funny cause his teeth are ugly!

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Jerry Lewis ("The Colgate Comedy Hour"The King of Comedy), Stella Stevens (The Courtship of Eddie's FatherGirls! Girls! Girls!)

Directed By: Jerry Lewis (The Bellboy The Errand Boy)

Overview: In this modern retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, an awkward and geeky professor concocts a formula that makes his attractive, glib and talented, but also turns him into a major d-bag.

So, after a hard week of packing, moving, unpacking and setting up the PS3 (complete with Blu-Ray player), I finally got a chance to actually 'live', to relax and take in my first movie in the peaceful quiet that is my new home. I made that movie a light 60s Comedy starring Jerry Lewis, and, as it was with Viva Las Vegas, my first film in my first house was yet another Cherry-Popping Nightmare.

We all know Jerry Lewis, but where do we really know him from? The younger of ye will remember him from the telethons he held for Muscular Dystrophy, those of you my age will remember him as an old un-funny comic doing - thankfully short - skits for TV Specials. If I just so happen to have readers over 70, you might recall him from his hey-day, from "The Colgate Comedy Hour", the show that made Jerry and Dean Martin the rockinest comedy duo out there. From what I gather, they were powerhouses, such powerhouses in fact that DC even made a comic of their exploits, The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis - wow. Jerry eventually went solo, starring and directing, the most famous of his films being The Nutty Professor, number 397 on my list of 1001 Must See Before I Croak Movies. Well, hoo boy is it ever brutal!
I've taken to beginning my not-so-fine film rants with what works about the film. Allow me to do that again and use this paragraph to illustrate all the good things about The Nutty Professor.

Alright, now that that's done, rather than spending the next three hours writing about the subtle nuance of all the shades of vile The Nutty Professor inspires in this critic, I thought I'd make a nice and easy bulleted list.
  • There's 'nutty', then there's retarded. Should I forgive the film for going crazy overboard in the realm of Mel Brooks-grade screwball? What do you think?
  • Casting, let's see. University students: Stella Purdy was 27 when she played her role. The other credited students were between the ages of 28 and 39!
  • From pans and zooms that constantly remind us that we're watching a movie, to strange P.O.V. shots and fourth-wall-breaking lens ogling that don't work.
  • It's not FUNNY.
  • It's about a professor who falls for a university student. If I may point out the impropriety? Right. Don't Stand So, seriously.
  • The story itself plays out like a series of 20s two-reeler gags strung together by the Jekyll and Hyde plot - gimmicky, gimmicky, gimmicky.
  • I may be able to forgive it in 1963, but today it is dated, and although it's actually partly the origin of a huge bucket of clichés, it doesn't actually feel original, it feels old and awkward.
  • Sure the colour palate was vibrant - The Purple Pit club was so GODDAMNED PURPLE. Thank God they added that female jazz flautist, it was so depressing I couldn't get the shotgun to my mouth.
  • I laughed three times. Once was genuine, the other two times I was laughing at the movie. Hecklefest for one is like going on a bender alone or 'buying yourself' a birthday present- it's pathetic.
  • Nothing beats the 'bad idea caught up to me, I learned a lesson' public speech. Jesus, that's been cliché since Samson.
Hell, I'll even go further and blame this for having modern influences that piss me off.
  • I never liked "The Simpsons" character Professor Johnathan I. Q. Frink, Jr., and it's all Jerry Lewis' fault.
  • Eddie Murphy was a raunchy comic, starred in the bad-ass Beverly Hills Cop, then started making family garbage like the '96 The Nutty Professor, where he starts being every character in the film. Next came the SEQUEL and then, since Eddie clearly likes the comfort that comes from living in a fat suit, he went Norbit. No I haven't seen any of those, but I'm offended at having been subjected to the trailers. Jerry Lewis was executive producer on The Nutty Professor remake. Suck it, Jerry.

Agreed. Who needs student - teacher ethics in university?
Agreed. Who needs student - teacher ethics in university?

Performance: 6 Cinematography: 5 Script: 5 Plot: 6 Mood: 3

Overall Rating: 50% (Nuts!)

So yes, in short, avoid this unintelligent film whose only saving grace is the post-potion persona Buddy Love - a character so laughably crass that he rarely goes into the land of eyebrow raising douchebaginess, but who's usually just boring and nowhere near as slick as he thinks himself to be - after all, he's played by Jerry Lewis...

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