Director: Chris Smith
I’m not a fan of Jim Carey. As a rule I don’t like wacky and his shtick in The Mask, Ace Ventura and Dumb & Dumber feels like 2nd rate Robin Williams. Regardless of that I thought he was pretty good in Man In The Moon, the biopic of US comic actor and performance artist Andy Kaufman. As a kid his character. Latka and Christopher Lloyd’s stoner,Jim were my favourite things about the sitcom, Taxi.
During the making of the biopic Jim Carey’s production company filmed hours of behind the scenes footage which makes up the bulk of this documentary alongside a contemporary interview with a bearded Carey. It shows that Jim went full method by becoming ‘Andy’ on and off camera.
One of Kaufman’s most infamous pranks was to petition the Taxi bosses to hire his friend Tony Clifton, a faded cabaret singer, to be a guest on the show. Clifton turned up drink, abusive and caused chaos and upset all day before being thrown out by security. It only occurred to everyone later that Clifton was Kaufman.
So Jim/Andy also appears as Clifton generally causing trouble on the set of the movie as well as crashing Speilberg’s offices ‘ to talk to him about that shark’. The clashes with cast, director Milos Foreman and others are often uncomfortable viewing as you wonder if all this is strictly necessary. Carey might have a desire like Kaufman to push the boundaries and blur the lines between art and reality but as Sir Larry would say ‘have you tried acting, my dear?’
Apparently all this footage has lain dormant because the studio were afraid that people would think Carey was nuts if they saw it. Maybe he is. Yet also the documentary and interview with Carey make you wonder how much is true and fiction. Some of the infamous accidents and pranks gone wrong of Kaufman’s were entirely planned in advance.
The behind the scenes might show a comic tryi g to create an atmosphere to pull off his role or just an excuse for Carey to be a bit of a Twat and push people’s buttons knowing that they were unlikely to react badly as he was a huge star.
All in all a fascinating watch however much you suspect it’s true motives.
Available on Netflix
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
The original movie and Mr Andy Kaufman