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"Man on the Moon" review!14 Nov 1999
by Brian Tomasini
It was surprising last February when the Academy Award nominations were announced without a mention of Jim Carrey for his performance as Truman Burbank in "The Truman Show". If the same is true next year for his role as Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman's "Man on the Moon", then I will forever wonder what the Academy looks for, exactly, in a perfomance.
"Man on the Moon" begins with Andy (Jim) addressing the crowd about his feelings on this movie. I don't want to give anything away, but it is absolutely hilarious, as well as a dead-on Andy Kaufman by Carrey. The movie itself starts with Andy as a child performing in his bedroom. He performs a childish animal sing-a-long for his sister, which he then is singing in a night club many years later, which is where Jim Carrey unbelievable portrayal begins.
At Andy's next performance, he is spotted by a Hollywood agent, George Shapiro, who is played very well by Kaufman's former "Taxi" co-star Danny DeVito. He is amazed by Kaufman's antics, especially his impersonation of Elvis.
As the movie progresses, it shows Andy's reluctance to be a sitcom star, and the entire movie deals with his desire to outwit everyone, especially the audience. His friend and writer, Bob Zmuda (played by Paul Giamatti) is there every step of the way and is equally as creative as Andy. The movie keeps the audience forever on its feet, wondering what is real and what is a product of the imagination of both Andy and Bob. It gets funnier and funnier with each trick. Just when you think things have gotten serious and the antics are done with... they aren't.
All of the actors in the movie give spectacular performances, and, in the film, many secrets about the life of Andy Kaufman are revealed for the first time, including information about the infamous confrontation with wrestler Jerry Lawler, the life of Tony Clifton, and Andy's genius side-career as a wrestler. This movie is now my all-time favorite, and I seriously believe Jim Carrey's best performance (and I'm sure his favorite, since he is such an Andy Kaufman fan). It is the absolute perfect combination of amazing comedy and very emotional drama. The only thing I am left wondering is this: If he is over-looked again by the Academy, how amazing do you think his costume will be at next year's MTV Awards? Hopefully we won't have to find out...
-- With a very special Spank You to Brian for sending us his "MotM" review.
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