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JohnQ

The Nutty Professor: Original VS Remake

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I have a serious bias-on towards the older version. I grew up exposed to, and loving Jerry Lewis. And while I do enjoy the more over-the-top elements of the remake (The Clumps, what inspired the sequel), I just feel it leans too hard on the mean-spiritedness. While Jerry Lewis' early-60s nerd stereotype is certainly harrassed and wedgied and humiliated within an inch of his life, he always bounced back, and, to get in the position he was in - as a professor of [some] science at some university - I've always felt like he was strong enough to take it. And while his attachment to Elkie Sommar's college student was kinda creepy in theory, I always felt like he was such a harmless guy, there would be no danger of him being too aggressive or whatever, given his much-ridiculed passivity (so don't wanna go there, with the whole professor/student relationship in general).

 

While the remake did a good job of dodging that last, admittedly rather big matter, I still prefer the chemistry betweeen Lewis and Sommar. And Lewis is just so damn funny, especially in all the lighter moments, whereas Murphy went very, very, VERY broad, both with the Klump family scenes (his fault) and the 90s CGI scenes (not his fault). In general, the more farts your movie contains, the more points I count against it. Low comedy is fine...for low comedy. But all the best films have found a way to win over the low-comedy-guzzling audience, while still not insulting either their more discriminating audience. It isn't often that a 60-comedy is made "sophisticated" in retrospect (or whatever), but the remake just took too many shortcuts. Fart humor. Fat humor. Also fat humor. And humor based on how fat Sherman Klump is. Fat fat fattie fat fat.

 

Just leaves a real bad taste in the mouth. The Lewis version treaded pretty hard on the old-fashioned "nder" stereotype, but it still allowed its lead SOME respect, not entirely devoted to his Norbitt-sized gut.

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I don't think either are Canon worthy, but I'd probably go with the remake just because I can't stand Jerry Lewis.

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I don't think either are Canon worthy, but I'd probably go with the remake just because I can't stand Jerry Lewis.

 

Even so, I don't think you can deny Jerry Lewis's place in pop culture. Love him or hate him, he's a fascinating personality, and he was basically THE comedy auteur of the '50s and early '60s. He kind of bridged the gap between the silent writer-director-star comedians like Keaton and Chaplin and later comics like Woody Allen and Mel Brooks (both of whom he collaborated with or nearly collaborated with). NUTTY PROFESSOR is his best film, and has the most recognizable iconography.

 

I think it would make for an interesting episode of the Canon because, even though he's grating and his films are dated, Jerry's films still hold a weird place in cinematic history.

 

Also, he practically invented video assist technology.

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Even so, I don't think you can deny Jerry Lewis's place in pop culture. Love him or hate him, he's a fascinating personality, and he was basically THE comedy auteur of the '50s and early '60s. He kind of bridged the gap between the silent writer-director-star comedians like Keaton and Chaplin and later comics like Woody Allen and Mel Brooks (both of whom he collaborated with or nearly collaborated with). NUTTY PROFESSOR is his best film, and has the most recognizable iconography.

 

I think it would make for an interesting episode of the Canon because, even though he's grating and his films are dated, Jerry's films still hold a weird place in cinematic history.

 

Also, he practically invented video assist technology.

 

I second this.

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