[VIDEO REVIEWS]Stuck in plastic bubbles and latex facesReviewed this week are two low-brow comedies.
BUBBLE BOY (2001)
Directed by Blair Hayes. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Marley Shelton and Swoosie Kurtz.
Since the beginning of mankind, people have left the comfort of their homes to seek adventure. When Jimmy Livingston (Gyllenhaal) leaves his humble California abode, he has to go in a plastic bubble.
Jimmy has a weak immune system. Since birth, he has lived in a bubble. He is allergic to pretty much anything. His overprotective mother (Kurtz) serves him nutritious, cross-shaped cookies to protect him from the evil, germ-ridden outside world.
Then Jimmy turns 17 and falls in love with the girl next door, Chloe (Shelton). Soon enough, though, the blonde breaks his heart by running off to Niagara Falls to marry another guy. Desperate, Jimmy assembles a mobile germ-proof unit and sets off on a cross-country trek to find Chloe and win her back - without getting popped.
Along the way the filmmakers take gratuitous potshots at Christians, Jews and Asians, as well as overprotective mothers. Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or be offended. Jimmy falls in with all sorts, like Chinese-American mud wrestling fans, a bus load of cultists and a Hindu ice cream and curry vendor. Jimmy's life itself is mocked, then sentimentalized. If you're up for the ride, brace yourself. And remember, it's a comedy.
NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS (2000)
Directed by Peter Segal. Starring Eddie Murphy and Janet Jackson.
Murphy gets larger than life once again in the sequel to 1996's "Nutty Professor." He is back as Sherman, a shy and overweight professor. Life is looking up for Sherm. He is in love again, this time with a colleague, a shapely geneticist named Denise Gaines (Jackson). The chemistry between Murphy and Jackson is warm and engaging. He proposes; she accepts.
"Nutty Professor" had some funny moments, especially the dinner scene with the entire Klump family. The sequel raises the question, "Why bother?" The gags and the formula are the same. Murphy's versatility saves the movie from being a complete flop. Once again he plays not just Sherman but also most of the professor's family - Sherman's kindhearted mother, the gruff father, the self-centered brother and the macho grandmother - as well as his nemesis and alter ego, Buddy Love. Murphy moves seamlessly from character to character.
Sherman has kept Buddy buried in his subconscious, but he keeps hearing him. To destroy Buddy for good, Sherman extracts the Buddy gene using a cutting-edge DNA technique developed by Denise.
But Buddy is accidentally brought to life - spliced with a dog's DNA. Then the procedure causes Sherman's intelligence to erode. As if that weren't enough, Buddy steals Sherman's greatest invention, a youth serum, and then all hell breaks loose.
by Joe Yong-hee