Filmed in 1991, THE NUTT HOUSE is a botch job that was justifiably shelved until DUMB AND DUMBER gave idiot comedy a new lease on life.
Nathan and Philbert Nut (Stephen Kearney) are twin brothers who have led widely divergent lives since being separated at birth: Nathan, who snaps in and out of bizarre multiple personalities, has been confined to a mental home, while Philbert is a popular but conniving politician who cheats on his
wife, Diane (Amy Yasbeck), with his maid, Miss Tress (Traci Lords). After an unsuccessful sanity hearing, Nathan escapes the hospital and finds his way to Philbert's mansion, where he is mistaken for his brother by Diane, Miss Tress, and others, causing much confusion.
Philbert is ultimately carted back to the mental ward instead of his brother, and he sees on TV that Nathan, in his place, has become a philanthropist who is making generous donations of his money. With Miss Tress's help, Philbert makes it back to the mansion just as Nathan is sponsoring a world
hunger benefit dinner. The celebration turns into a massive pie fight, and in the melee, Philbert is once again grabbed by the doctors and taken away. Nathan wins Diane's love and ultimately becomes President of the United States--though he hasn't entirely left his wacky alter egos behind.
Originally titled THE NUTTY NUT, this film was scripted by cult director Sam Raimi and collaborators Ron Zwang and Scott Spiegel, the latter of whom was also the initial director. But Spiegel's outrageous technique proved too much for the foreign financial backers to handle, and he was replaced
with Adam Rifkin, who proved his own contribution to screen comedy with the dismal THE DARK BACKWARD. Under his graceless handling, the film's funniest gag is Zwang and Spiegel's adopting the Director's Guild pseudonym "Alan Smithee" and "Alan Smithee Jr.," in the credits.
While a couple of gags still score, Rifkin's obvious, ham-handed approach telegraphs many of the jokes and flattens the humor out of just about all of them. Cavorting through the movie in a series of silly costumes as Nathan's alter egos (originally intended to be suggested through performance),
Kearney comes off like a poor man's Jim Carrey. The rest of the cast just look lost, as if wondering how much more comic humiliation they'll have to endure.(Sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Filmed in 1991, THE NUTT HOUSE is a botch job that was justifiably shelved until DUMB AND DUMBER gave idiot comedy a new lease on life. Nathan and Philbert Nut (Stephen Kearney) are twin brothers who have led widely divergent lives since being separated a… (more)