Film Scouts Reviews

"Man on the Moon"

by Richard Schwartz

In "Man on the Moon," the "People vs. Larry Flynt" team of director Milos Forman, screenwriters Alexander & Karazsewski, even love interest Courtney Love, attempt to give bizarre stand-up comedian Andy Kaufman's life the "Flynt" biopic treatment but succeed only in making the misunderstood comic seem less sympathetic than the aforementioned drug addict/pornographer. Rather than attempting to explain or even bring any dimension to Kaufman's bizarre life and enigmatic death, we instead get what is essentially "Andy's Greatest Hits," a retrospective-like recap (a la the Comedy Central one-hour Kaufman special) of the comedian's most daring bits and boldest moments. While these moments are often awe-inspiring, strung together they don't make for much drama, or even much comedy. The final product is a dour and downcast snapshot that never explores whether Kaufman was pure genius, pure schizophrenic or a little bit of both. Jim Carrey does a fine job in mimicking Kaufman's behavior (the boorish and offensive but funny alter ego Tony Clifton is a highlight), but even that novelty wears off. Love is stuck here in the narrow role of sympathetic girlfriend Lynne Marguiles and Danny Devito's turn as manager George Shapiro is equally shallow. We're left with the funny Mighty Mouse theme song bit, the Elvis impersonation and the Foreign Man sketch, but those seemed much funnier the first time around.

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