Man on the Moon

"Very Good"

Man on the Moon Review


How do you make a Serious Movie about someone who never took anything seriously at all?

This Andy Kaufman biopic has been in the works and has been talked about for so long, it's become as cultish as the man himself. Will Carrey get the Oscar nod he didn't get for The Truman Show? My prediction: yes. Will viewers of the film finally come to understand the infamous comedian? No, and he wasn't a comedian, it turns out. Andy Kaufman, in what may be the greatest revelation Man on the Moon has to offer, was a self-stylized "song and dance man."

It's hard to fathom a more difficult subject to tackle, which explains why this picture has languished in development for such a long time. Kaufman, as even passing fans are aware, used elaborate pranks to entertain the audience - and more importantly, to entertain himself.

With co-conspirator and writing partner Bob Zmuda (see our interview), Kaufman wrapped his entire life in mystery. From his well-documented obsession with wrestling women, to made-up lounge singer Tony Clifton, to his hatred for having to play dumb on the TV show Taxi, to his funeral after struggling with lung cancer, everything was a big joke to Kaufman.

Or was it? Man on the Moon gives us a teeny peek inside Andy Kaufman's skull before sealing it shut. I can't say that I know any more about Andy Kaufman than I did before I went into the theater. And while Kaufman may have been unknowable to all but his innermost circle, I find that a failing of the film.

But mind you, there's more to like. Jim Carrey, as Kaufman's doppelganger, is haunting and devastatingly accurate. The man is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, and he deserves some serious credit for his work here.

Courtney Love, on the other hand, comes as close to ruining a picture as she ever has. Playing Kaufman's girlfriend, she has far less screen time than she did in The People Vs. Larry Flynt (also directed and written by the same team that did Moon), but she just does just as much damage to the story with her abrasive, out-of-place presence.

"There is no real Andy," someone says during the film. I'm inclined to agree. Kaufman was a awesomely complex individual, and he lived his life as much in front of the camera as he did behind it. What is there left to explore? Movies, books, miniseries - I don't think we'll ever know.

I don't think we were supposed to.

Andy, did you hear about this one?



Man on the Moon

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd December 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $47.4M

Budget: $82M

Distributed by: Universal

Production compaines: Mutual Film Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 44

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton, as Lynne Margulies, as Jack Burns, as George Shapiro, Gerry Becker as Stanley Kaufman, Leslie Lyles as Janice Kaufman, Greyson Erik Pendry as Little Michael Kaufman, as Mr. Besserman, as Maynard Smith, as Bob Zmuda, as Christopher Lloyd - 'Taxi' Actor, as Jeff Conaway - 'Taxi' Actor

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.