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The Nutty Professor
An obese man in a tweed suit, reflected in the mirror is a skinny man in a skintight leotard
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTom Shadyac
Screenplay by
  • David Sheffield
  • Barry W. Blaustein
  • Tom Shadyac
  • Steve Oedekerk
Produced by
  • Brian Grazer
  • Russell Simmons
CinematographyJulio Macat
Edited byDon Zimmerman
Music byDavid Newman
Imagine Entertainment
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • June 28, 1996 (1996-06-28)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$54 million[2]
Box office$274 million[2]

The Nutty Professor is a 1996 American comedy science fiction film starring Eddie Murphy. It is a remake of the 1963 film of the same name, which starred Jerry Lewis, and was itself based on Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The film co-stars Jada Pinkett, James Coburn, Larry Miller, Dave Chappelle and John Ales. Montell Jordan has a cameo role as himself. The original music score was composed by David Newman. The film won Best Makeup at the 69th Academy Awards. [3]

Murphy portrays a university professor, Sherman Klump, a kind-hearted professor who is morbidly obese. A research scientist, academic, and lecturer, Klump develops a miraculous, but experimental, weight-loss pharmaceutical, and, hoping to win the affection of the girl of his dreams, tests it upon himself. Like the original film's Julius Kelp, Klump's vigorous, charismatic, but evil alter ego takes the name "Buddy Love". Murphy plays a total of seven characters in the film, including Sherman, most of Sherman's family (except for his nephew, Ernie Klump Jr. played by actor Jamal Mixon), and an over-the-top parody of Richard Simmons.

The film received positive reviews, with critics particularly praising the makeup and Murphy's performance. The film's success spawned a sequel, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, which was released in 2000. The film was re-released on Blu-ray combo pack on March 6, 2012, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Universal Studios.[citation needed]


At Wellman College, thousands of hamsters overrun the campus, due to the massively obese, yet loving and kind-hearted, professor Sherman Klump, who accidentally releases them. Meanwhile, Sherman has created an experimental formula that reconstructs the DNA of an obese person in a way that allows them to lose weight more easily.

After class, Sherman meets and instantly falls in love with Carla Purty, a chemistry graduate student who is a big fan of his work. After dinner with his obese, impolite family, Sherman asks Carla out on a date, which she accepts, much to Sherman's surprise. The date begins well with Carla showing admiration for Sherman's work, but the club's obnoxious comic Reggie Warrington publicly humiliates him about his weight. Sherman becomes depressed and has a nightmare in which he becomes a rampaging giant and wrecks the city with a single fart that is ignited to cause an explosion. He tests his serum on himself and loses 300 pounds in seconds. Overwhelmed by his thinness, he goes out and buys copious amounts of normal-sized clothing to celebrate, and a $47,000 Viper sports car on his faculty expense account.

To conceal his true identity, Sherman adopts a fake name, "Buddy Love", and invites Carla out on a date at the same club again (while the serum begins to wear off). Reggie is present again and Buddy takes revenge and heckles him mercilessly. Sherman's "Buddy" persona starts to develop an independent personality due to the heightened testosterone levels of the transformation, causing him to gradually change from his regular good-natured self to perverted and overly confident. Klump's assistant Jason witnesses Buddy fleeing the scene after he is identified as the person who left Klump's credit card on the bar. Jason follows Buddy and witnesses the transformation back into Klump.

The next morning, Dean Richmond has set up a meeting with wealthy Harlan Hartley at The Ritz to have Sherman explain the serum in the hopes of gaining Hartley's $10 million donation to the science department. However, Sherman arrives at The Ritz as Buddy with Carla. When the Dean spots him, Carla asks Buddy if he will take Sherman's place. He does, and he takes all the credit of his work to Hartley. Hartley and the dean are very impressed, and the dean invites him to the Alumni Ball the next night. Meanwhile, Buddy picks up three beautiful women who seem to idolize him, much to Carla's anger who dumps him and walks out. He then invites the three women and a bunch of other people back to his place for the night to throw a party and have sex with the three women.

After the falling out with Carla, Richmond gleefully telling Sherman that Buddy will be taking his place at the Alumni Ball, and seeing a taunting video tape from his alter ego, Sherman has had enough. He and Jason destroy all of the serum samples. Sherman plans to set things right with Carla and get the grant from Hartley. Unfortunately, Buddy knew that this would happen and prepared himself by hiding a sample of the serum in one of Sherman's diet shake cans, which Sherman drinks, causing him to transform into Buddy again. Jason tries to stop him from going to the ball, but Buddy knocks him out with a single blow to the face and departs.

At the ball, Buddy demonstrates the effects of the serum to the audience, but Jason arrives in time, as he has found out that Buddy's testosterone levels are at a lethally high 60,000%. However, Buddy plans to drink a large sums of the potion to get rid of Sherman for good. Jason knows that if he drinks it, it will kill Sherman and possibly Buddy. The two of them get into a brief fistfight, but Sherman begins to fight Buddy from within. However, Sherman eventually transforms into his regular self and admits to the shocked audience, including his parents, of his misdeeds, that Buddy was who he thought he and everybody else wanted him to be, and that he should accept himself for who he is. As he leaves, Carla stops him and asks why he lied; he says he did not believe that she would accept him. While they don't initiate a romantic relationship, Sherman and Carla remain friends and share a dance together. Hartley gives the donation to Sherman because he is "a brilliant scientist and a gentleman."


  • Eddie Murphy as Professor Sherman Klump / Buddy Love
    • Murphy also plays Papa Cletus Klump (Sherman's father), Mama Anna Klump (Sherman's mother), Granny Klump (Sherman's Grandma, Anna's Mama), Ernie Klump, Sr. (Sherman's brother) and Lance Perkins, a parody of Richard Simmons
  • Jada Pinkett as Carla Purty
  • James Coburn as Harlan Hartley
  • Larry Miller as Dean Richmond
  • Dave Chappelle as Reggie Warrington
  • John Ales as Jason
  • Jamal Mixon as Ernie Klump, Jr.
  • Montell Jordan as himself


The Nutty Professor was the first Tom Shadyac film to feature outtakes over the closing credits.[citation needed] The film also has a series of scenes with Murphy and comedian Dave Chappelle who plays insult comic, Reggie Warrington. Much of their dialogue was improvised.[citation needed] Murphy was one of Chappelle's biggest comedic influences.[4] Reggie Warrington is named after Reginald and Warrington Hudlin, brothers, and directors of one of Murphy's previous films, Boomerang.[5]

While the film was made with the help of Jerry Lewis (he was an executive producer for both this film and the 2000 sequel The Klumps), he later recanted his position in an interview in the January 30/February 6, 2009 edition of Entertainment Weekly magazine. He was quoted as saying, "I have such respect for Eddie, but I should not have done it. What I did was perfect the first time around and all you're going to do is diminish that perfection by letting someone else do it."[5][6]


Critical response[]

The Nutty Professor has received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 65% based on reviews from 54 critics.[7] Metacritic gave the film a score of 62 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars out of 4, calling it "a movie that's like a thumb to the nose for everyone who said [Murphy had] lost it. He's very good. And the movie succeeds in two different ways: it's sweet and good-hearted, and then again it's raucous slapstick and bathroom humor. I liked both parts."[9] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, writing "You can feel Murphy rediscovering his joy as a performer. He rediscovers it, too, as Sherman Klump, a fellow who, much like Murphy, is on the bottom rung, desperate to reinvent himself, and — at long last — does."[10]

Box office[]

The Nutty Professor was a box office success, opening with $25,411,725 and reaching a domestic sum of $128,814,019, and $145,147,000 overseas, for a total of $273,961,019 worldwide.


  • 69th Academy Awards
    • Best Makeup (Won)
  • 54th Golden Globe Awards
    • Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy - Eddie Murphy (Nominated)


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. U.S. R&B
1996 The Nutty Professor
  • Released: June 4, 1996
  • Label: Def Jam
8 1
  • US: Platinum

See also[]

  • Eddie Murphy filmography


  1. "THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (12)". British Board of Film Classification. July 9, 1996. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Nutty Professor (1996) (1996) - Box Office Mojo".
  3. "The 69th Academy Awards (1997) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  4. "Dave Chappelle". Inside the Actors Studio. Season 12. Episode 10. 2006-02-12. Bravo. Unknown parameter |episodelink= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |serieslink= ignored (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "15 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Nutty Professor'". Mental Floss. January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  6. "Why 'The Nutty Professor' is still a classic after 51 years". New York Post. June 7, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  7. "The Nutty Professor". 28 June 1996.
  8. "The Nutty Professor". Metacritic.
  9. Roger Ebert (28 June 1996). "The Nutty Professor".
  10. Barry Blaustein; Jerry Lewis; Steve Oedekerk; Bill Richmond; Tom Shadyac; David Sheffield. "The Nutty Professor -". Entertainment Weekly's

External links[]

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