Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Man on the Moon

Man on the Moon; drama, USA, 1999; D: Miloš Forman, S: Jim Carrey, Danny DeVito, Courtney Love, Paul Giamatti, Vincent Schiavelli

Any Kaufman was born in a small provincial town and already as a child pretended to run a TV-show. As a grown up, he worked as entertainer in clubs, until his imitation of Elvis Presely caught the attention of George Shapiro who hired him to star on "Saturday Night Live" and sitcom "Taxi". Andy hated the show, but it assured him fame. His eccentric behaviour became more and more hermetic, like when he would disguise himself as the overweight Clifton or simply read "The Great Gatsby" from start to finish on the show. During wrestling, he met Lynn and started a relationship with her. After getting thrown out from the show, he died from cancer. A year later, Clifton performed again, though.

The movie has a genius opening (similar like the one from "And Now for Something Completely Different"): in a black and white cinematography, Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) looks directly into the camera and addresses the audience: "Hallo. I am Andy Kaufman. Thank you for coming to watch my film. But this is the end of the film", upon which music starts and the closing credits truly start rolling (!) - until it turns out it is all just a joke true to the oddball humor of the eccentric comedian. A wonderfully unusual start compared to Milos Forman's previous and rather standard achievement, "The People vs. Larry Flynt", whereas Carrey even won a Golden Globe as best actor in a musical or comedy, his second one in a row after "The Truman Show" (ironically, also starring Paul Giamatti), yet that is the only truly inspired highlight of "Man on the Moon" whose level keeps constantly dropping whereas the director unfortunately allows that he main protagonist turns sligthly annoying. All in all a good movie, though hardly something new in the biopic genre. It reminds a little bit of "Lenny": Kaufman is an artist, but he is not always interesting due to his empty provocations, whereas Lenny Bruce was truly a genius comedian of controversies that slyly also told a lot about the society.


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