The Nutty Professor
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie doesn't have much to do with the Jerry Lewis classic, even though Lewis does provide the voice of Harold's grandfather. There's lots of bullying, and Harold becomes addicted to the chemical formula he develops. The film is less about facing fear than being overwhelmed by terrifying situations -- stick to the original if you're looking for a good movie for kids.
What's the story?
Harold Kelp, amateur inventor, is working on an experimental engine, only to be disturbed by an angry mob out for his hide. Harold's many experiments had gone awry, raising an outcry for his ouster. Luckily, Harold receives an acceptance letter to The Cerebrum Academy, an esteemed science boarding school where his grandfather Professor Julius Kelp (Jerry Lewis) teaches. Harold accepts and finds himself once more surrounded by bullies who want to beat him up merely for the fun of it. To cope with the pressure, Harold concocts a formula that will bring out his inner, most desirable self, a demon named Jack, who appears cooler, but is ultimately out to control Harold by any means possible.
Is it any good?
All of the cool gadgets that could have been displayed in this movie take a backseat to the social pressures that Harold is faced with. Sadly, Jerry Lewis and Drake Bell's voice talents are largely wasted on a script that focuses on getting the girl and getting beaten up. Particularly disturbing is the inner voice that urges Harold to drink the potion so that he can be cool. Sounds a little bit like peer pressure to drink. Jerry Lewis' inner cool guy also appears as an alter-ego character called Buddy Love, who fights with Harold's alter-ego, Jack. So not only are bullies attacking Harold from the outside world, but he's bullied by his inner voice and has a fistfight with his grandfather. Not cool.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Harold is always being bullied. Why isn't anyone looking after Harold in this school for nerds? Why is his grandfather being bullied too? Is this just the way things go in the world? What would you do if you were Harold?