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Classic of the Week: The Nutty Professor (1963)


The Nutty Professor is a 1963 American comic science fiction film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. The film follows the story of Professor Julius Kelp, a nerdy, buck toothed, socially inept university professor and Buddy Love, a handsome, smooth talking, girl chasing piano player.

This film is Jerry Lewis at his best. He brings the extreme nerd and lady’s man both to life perfectly. He makes both characters seem like two different people, even though they are one. Kelp is the original person that created serum that turned him into Buddy Love.

His experiments turn out unsuccessfully and are destructive. He eventually has trouble keeping his two identities secret and when the serum stops working, everyone finds out and are mad at first, but he is forgiven and he decides to market his serum.

Stella Stevens is perfect as Stella Purdy, a student in Professor Kelp’s class. At first, she starts falling for Buddy Love, until she learns about his girl chasing. When Kelp’s secret gets out, Stella is angry and refuses to forgive him, but she eventually does and both she and Kelp fall in love. Stella is beautiful, smart and at times a bit flirty and wears her hair in pigtails that resemble a blonde poodle.

This is a fun, laugh out loud film, that also makes you nervous and a little mad too. There are a lot of adult jokes, mostly sexual, throughout, so this is not a family film, although the jokes would likely go over younger children’s heads. There is also a lot of drinking and smoking, but that’s how it was back then.

This is a thousand times better than the 90’s version with Eddie Murphy, in my opinion. He is funny, but his version is far sillier and has nothing on the great Lewis, who is a comic genius. There’s no jazz music in the 90’s one either. Why a gigantic professor? Why did we need that stupidity from Murphy’s? We didn’t. This film is comedic genius from beginning to end. You can’t go wrong with Jerry Lewis. He is a legend and always will be. 13+ 4.5/5

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