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Overall Rating

Awesome: 35.71%
Worth A Look52.14%
Average: 8.57%
Pretty Bad: 2.14%
Total Crap: 1.43%

11 reviews, 74 user ratings

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Man on the Moon
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by Scott Weinberg

"An entertaining movie; An average biography"
4 stars

Poor Jim Carrey. He got screwed out of an Oscar nomination for The Truman Show last year. This year, he gives the second best performance overall. If American Beauty came out next year, Carrey would be a lock to win an Oscar this March. As it stands, I think he'll be seated and applauding politely for Kevin Spacey.

Writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski did a brilliant job on Ed Wood a few years ago. If they don't do as good a job this time around, it's because all we really see of Andy Kaufman is the surface. There are almost no scenes that give us a glimpse inside the head of the bizzare and brilliant comedian. Instead, we are simply shown a bunch of jobs that Kaufman had only with Jim Carrey. That's not to say this is a bad movie. I actually liked it quite a bit. I just wish they had dug a little deeper.

We first meet Andy as he's jumping on his bed, giving a performance in front of his bedroom wall. Then he's a teenager getting fired from a club for singing children's songs to his audience. As he gets older, he tries improv. After meeting George Shapiro (Danny DeVito) he begins his role on Taxi, occasionally stopping by Saturday Night Live or a college campus. The re-enactments are done perfectly, and Carrey is eerily good as Kaufman.

Unfortunately, we don't really learn much more about him except that he holds a kind of contempt for his audience and his ideas of entertainment were brave and original. There's a scene late in the movie in which his girlfriend (Courtney Love) says "There is no real you." That seems like a cop-out to me. Why not dig a little deeper and try to discover what he was really like.

Danny DeVito is pretty strong as the producer who supports Kaufman. Another standout is Paul Giamatti as Kaufman's partner in subversiveness, Bob Zmuda. Faring not as good is Courtney Love and the cast of Taxi, who show up to play themselves on the Taxi set. (They all look their age, plus DeVito is playing a different role, which kind of detracts from the authenticity. Plus, Tony Danza must have passed, Christopher Lloyd is creepy looking, and Kevin Conway has some scary fake hair.)

Another minor complaint is the selectivity with which his life is portrayed. I would liked to have seen Kaufman's reactions to his terrible movie roles in Heartbeeps and In God We Trust. Also omitted is the time Marilu Henner smacked Kaufman at the Emmy presentations. A little too much time is spent on Kaufman's strange obsession with inter-gender wrestling. This is the gimmick that alienated most of his fans, and it comes close to dragging the movie down.

Oddly, I still liked it. Although it's somewhat shallow and a little overlong, Carrey's performance alone makes it damn entertaining. There's some quality laughs and other nice touches, such as Carrey's final show. If you're a big Kaufman fan, don't expect to learn much more. If you're not, why would you want to see it anyway?

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originally posted: 12/27/99 05:36:51
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User Comments

5/06/09 Dane Youssef A stunning re-creation and posession of an underrated genius madman & the havoc he wreaked. 5 stars
10/31/05 Wisamane Im sad now :( 5 stars
9/27/04 alicia carey is amazing in this. 5 stars
6/15/04 T. Maj Jim Carrey's Andy Kaufman imitation. See a Kaufman documentary instead 3 stars
3/22/04 Elena This is highly underrated for its style, acting and plot. It's a great, funny and sad movie 5 stars
12/26/03 ROY L. CAIN,JR. A fine movie on Andy Kaufman's life. It also remembrs "FRIDAYS". Put that show back on TV! 4 stars
11/24/03 Samuel One of the Greatest films of all time!! 5 stars
6/05/03 Mike A funny and entertaining movie. One of my faves. 5 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Another overstated, poorly made Forman leftist cinematic leaflet. 1 stars
2/01/03 Hi there Jim Carrey is excellent. 5 stars
1/13/03 WestcoastPunk Carrey is the best underated actor in Hollywood 5 stars
10/10/02 LIAM JACKSON THIS MOVIE IS SO FUCKING COOL I LUV IT, ITS FUCKING BRILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/30/02 Ryan Justice fucking hilarious a must see 5 stars
8/14/02 palaboy101 Jim Carrey's acting is great, but the movie wasn't. 3 stars
1/26/02 Andrew Lee Would like to give a full review as this is a must see film for those who have no seen Andy 5 stars
11/03/01 Andrew Carden I Liked How They Had Carrey Put Into Kaufman's Place For The "Taxi" Scenes. 3 stars
9/30/01 daniboy I loved it. Jim Carrey was impressive. 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Good film. Carrey was perfect and of course, was fucked by the academy. (bastards 4 stars
7/14/01 Marijan Srdic Very entertaining!!!!! 5 stars
5/30/01 perverted pixie Kaufmans legend and Carreys gifts. Thats a double dose of crazy genius. 5 stars
2/15/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Jim Carrey proves once again that he IS, after all, talented. 4 stars
2/05/01 Diego Romero If you believe this movie sucks,go suck some cock 5 stars
2/04/01 Del R Jim Carrey is Andy Kaufman. Brilliant. 5 stars
1/21/01 thom carrey: usually a typcast gobshite. This is no exception, but it's ace cos Carrey fits. 4 stars
12/27/00 Turtle Another movie with Jim Carrey doing his best work! 5 stars
12/20/00 Speedy With no oscar recognition, it's official: Carrey is now most underated actor in world 5 stars
12/19/00 natasha Jim Carrey was the heart of this film - see it for his performance 4 stars
11/18/00 salvo greetings by tony clifton 5 stars
10/11/00 Add Its a good film but Carrey makes it great. Congrats to Jim and bollocks to the academy! 4 stars
6/12/00 Michael Grimm should have focused on personal relationships more than being a documentary 3 stars
6/07/00 Alma Marquez I am History and I say he`s a fucking asshole!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
6/03/00 JonnyA Carrey is great, movie is very average but worth seeing 4 stars
4/07/00 SID Best fucking movie of the year, I don't care what anyone says. 5 stars
3/06/00 Captain Highcrime Really an expanded A&E Biography, not enough "Taxi," good 4 those who never really knew him 4 stars
2/26/00 Bernard Self Carrey is brilliant, the film leaves me confused! 4 stars
2/25/00 Matthew Smith worth seeing for carrey's performance. 4 stars
2/24/00 Mic Could've been better (pacing for one thing). 3.5 Stars. 3 stars
2/18/00 Joel Harwood Hello i'm ANDY and i enjoyed the movie 4 stars
2/15/00 the Grinch Go see this, if only for the fantabulous "Tony Clifton"! 4 stars
2/12/00 Skye Chapman didn't think i'd like it. i did. glad they didn't try to explain andy. 4 stars
2/04/00 arnold fucking funny 5 stars
1/28/00 Donna Fritz Carrey was awesome! A wonderful tribute to the daring Mr. Kaufman. Funnier than expected! 5 stars
1/21/00 tom too big of a deal made out of something ultimately unimpressive 2 stars
1/16/00 Lindsay Worth a Look 4 stars
1/13/00 Timmy Fucking Rocked. Go Jim! you're more than Fire Marshal Bill! 5 stars
1/11/00 Louis A Great Movie. A whole bunch of well-earned laughs 5 stars
1/06/00 ALIaS Very well done, my only complaint is that it was too short......there was so much more! 5 stars
1/06/00 Gregory damn good movie. carrey is amazing. 4 stars
1/06/00 Laura Baker It made me laugh as well as wonder! 4 stars
1/06/00 Aldo P Good Movie. Who would want to see it, tho? 5 stars
1/04/00 PhilmPhreak Really well done - not a lot of insight into why he was so wierd, though. 4 stars
1/03/00 SJKelley Carrey and odd subject-matter barely keep it from being a T.V.-caliber bio-movie. 4 stars
1/03/00 Fork Outstanding. Truely a thinking man's film. Not just a life but an enigma. 5 stars
1/02/00 Starry Knight The character of Tony Clifton was brilliant 5 stars
1/01/00 ZuG Definately bad-ass 5 stars
1/01/00 unstrung it was pretty damn good 5 stars
1/01/00 Mike Clifton The story was too fragmented & choppy to make this a masterpiece, but Jim is unbelievable 5 stars
1/01/00 sexychick After Any Given Sunday this movie rocked!! 5 stars
1/01/00 Tyson Stewart funny, funny, funny. a good story. Carey's best film! 4 stars
1/01/00 majawat okay 4 stars
12/31/99 ANNIE best film ever 5 stars
12/31/99 maryjane Jim Carrey is awsome as an actor. Andy Kaufman was/is a bastard genius. 5 stars
12/31/99 KK Carrey deserves an Oscar Nomination for this. 5 stars
12/30/99 Fenris I look forward to seeing where Jim Carrey goes from here. 4 stars
12/26/99 Sadie I loved it. I laughed and was moved to tears. The best film in years. 5 stars
12/26/99 The King of the Bros Read Zmuda's book you fucking hacks. 3 stars
12/25/99 jenn "Blu Smrf" this is a great movie, once again an amazing job jim!! 4 stars
12/24/99 JonnyAngel Really good, but I'm stingy with those 5 star ratings 4 stars
12/24/99 Losifer A great film. Wonderful. Fantastic. 5 stars
12/24/99 chouck Carey was great but the movie was all over the map 2 stars
12/23/99 Malbert Jim Carey is *awesome* in this one! 4 stars
12/23/99 Marc It is absolutely, no contest the best film of 1999. 5 stars
12/23/99 Z rather confusing movie, i didn't like it 2 stars
12/19/99 Marla K It is touching, well-acted and well-directed. 4 stars
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  22-Dec-1999 (R)



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