The Nutty Professor

“The Nutty Professor is, along with Roy Ward Baker's Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, one of the most fascinating variations on the Jekyll-Hyde theme. It's also one of the cruelest, nastiest, malice-aforethought swipes ever taken by one member of a broken-up partnership at the other, as Jerry Lewis lets us know exactly what he thinks of Dean Martin. Lewis plays a typical role as a kindly, spastic, socially inept scientist, whose childish behavior alienates almost everyone he meets. So he invents a serum that turns him into, well, into Dean Martin - a slick, assertive, fast-talking, hard-drinking nightclub singer, whose obnoxious insincerity only makes him more successful in attracting the women who shunned Lewis earlier. Lewis plays the Dino part with fiendish pleasure - letting years of pent-up hatred charge one of the most extraordinary screen performances ever filmed. There are laughs in The Nutty Professor, but its bitter subtext makes it as bleak a picture of human gullibility as Billy Wilder's Ace In The Hole, and despite a happy ending, its merciless division of the world into powerless Lewises and successful Dinos leaves little room for hope. If, like many Americans, you still find it hard to accept Lewis's stature as a serious, conscious filmmaker, this corrosive masterwork will set your doubts to rest.” --Michael Goodwin

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