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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 EricDSnider

"Shows us the WHAT, but not the WHY."
4 stars

"Man on the Moon" stumbles awkwardly in some minor areas, but still manages to convey in fascinating terms the oddness of Andy Kaufman's life.

Little attempt is made to show us WHY Andy was so weird. In one telling scene, he says to his girlfriend Lynne (Courtney Love), "You don't know the real me." She replies, "There isn't a real you." He says, "Oh, yeah. I forgot."

But even then, he hesitates slightly before saying it. It's like he's weighing what she said: IS there a real me? It seems like there WAS a real Andy Kaufman, somewhere underneath all the facades and characters and lunacy, but that it was easier for him to deny his existence than to get someone to understand him.

And that's the attitude of Milos Forman's film, too: Whatever Andy's motivations were for all the publicity stunts and general strangeness, only he was aware of them.

Jim Carrey doesn't so much portray Kaufman as he does channel him. The actor has never committed himself so deeply to a role. He's even funnier as Kaufman's alter ego, the odious lounge singer Tony Clifton (sort of how Mike Myers' Dr. Evil stole the show from Austin Powers).

Forman does a fair job re-creating Kaufman's public life, too. The actors who appeared with him on "Taxi" are made (as much as possible) to look 20 years younger than they do now; noticeably missing from those scenes, though, is Danny DeVito's famous Louie DePalma character (DeVito is busy elsewhere in the film, playing Andy's agent, George Shapiro -- a bit of bad casting, in my opinion, since DeVito really should have been in those "Taxi" scenes).

However, other elements are sloppy. The famous showdown with wrestler Jerry Lawler on the David Letterman show is fine, except that neither Dave nor Paul Shaffer is made to look any different from the way they do now. Dave is even wearing his glasses, which he didn't start doing on the air until a year ago; Paul, too, is completely clean-headed, which didn't occur until recently.

These are minor things, but they're troublesome: Why go to the trouble of re-creating the TV studio sets, the scenarios and the conversations -- why go to the trouble of getting David Letterman, who rarely does this sort of thing -- if you're not going to do it right? Did Letterman and Shaffer just refuse to undergo wigs and makeup? Did Dave flat-out refuse to take off his glasses? It seems unlikely.

This sort of thing is worth mentioning because its symptomatic of the movie as a whole: It retells Andy's public life but gives almost no insight whatsoever into his private life. Why make the movie if you're not going to say anything?

As a documentary that is reasonably accurate, it's highly entertaining. Kaufman was a wonderfully colorful character, and Carrey brings all that to life so well it engulfs the viewer. Just seeing all the crazy stuff he did re-enacted is entertainment enough -- especially since we see some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, too. So much of what he did was an inside joke that only he and a couple others got; in this film, we're made privy to some of it, too.

But just knowing which of Andy's experiences were staged and which ones were real isn't enough to tell us who he was. It's interesting, sure, but as a biography, it's about as insightful as a guy lip-synching the "Mighty Mouse" theme.

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originally posted: 07/05/03 12:45:48
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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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