I chose Jerry Lewis as a subject for 30 Days, 30 Movies for two reasons: my Hunny loves one of his movies and he’s revered by the French, and we all know how I feel about France. The movie Hunny loves is called Cinderfella, and I had never seen it. What better way to be productive with my limited movie watching time than view a beloved childhood film with my boyfriend/husband. Sadly, this did not work out. We were unable to obtain a copy of Cinderfella. Our local movie rental house had The Nutty Professor instead.
This movie is a sad treatise on the view of what women want in men. Jerry Lewis’ Professor character is smitten with his student, Stella (It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Everyone looks to be in their 40’s). He notices that she likes athletes and his boss is giving him problems. He resolves to get physically fit with no results. Since he has scientific knowledge, he decides to make a formula to change himself. He turns into a brash jerk, Buddy Love, all the ladies love and all the guys fear. Stella likes him, but she can’t figure out why. In the end, he’s forced to expose himself for the gawky guy he is and Stella loves him anyway.
Or does she?
Stella is portrayed as an average girl who is clueless when it comes to people. She doesn’t recognize the high pitched voice of the Professor when the formula wears off Buddy Love. She doesn’t recognize the peculiar way he holds her hand or when the two characters show signs they are the same. She spends the movie loathing Buddy’s actions and treatment of her, and yet she doesn’t leave him and obsesses over him constantly. She can’t even take an exam because she’s sitting in her seat in a trance thinking about Buddy Love.
The final scene shows the Professor and Stella walking away arm in arm with a marriage license and Stella has two bottles of the formula hanging out of her back pockets. What does that mean? Is she going to take it? Is she going to give him the formula so he’ll be the jerky Buddy Love personality? Is this movie saying women will marry a nice guy, but prefer a bad guy?
Again, I’m not sure what this story is trying to say, but the Professor does make a speech at the end that everyone should accept who they are because if they don’t, no one else will. I think that’s what he was trying to express with this movie. Jerry Lewis is not a “cool” guy like his Rat Pack former partner Dean Martin, but he is a funny, intelligent guy and he likes himself.