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"Man on the Moon"01 Jun 2000
by Heather Wadowski
Probably the most overlooked and underappreciated film of 1999, "Man on the Moon" comes to DVD and offers those who missed it this past holiday season another chance to see one of the best films of 1999.
Jim Carrey gives the performance of his career as Andy Kaufman, the ex-"Taxi" star who's life was cut short by cancer. Whether you loved Kaufman or hated him, viewers can't argue that Carrey doesn't portray Kaufman flawlessly. Fans of Kaufman will be thrilled to see him come alive once again and for two hours forget his career was cut short and be mesmerized as Carrey does what Kaufman did best-- confuse people with his comedy.
The film isn't a biography but instead a tribute to the late comedian. Carrey engages the audience with his portrayal of Kaufman and director Milos Forman shows both Kaufman on-screen and off. While the real Kaufman turned many people off, the way "Man on the Moon" is set up gives the audience a sense of understanding Kaufman, something even the real Andy Kaufman could never accomplish. We not only see the zany comic but also the man off camera trying to top his every act. In other words, the public gets to see the comic AND the person that made up Kaufman-- something that was never shown until now.
Whatever you felt about Kaufman or feel about Carrey, leave it at the door. To miss this film is a huge mistake. Not only will viewers possibly learn to appreciate Kaufman and, gasp!, like him, but critics who think Jim Carrey is "just a comedian" will realize how wrong they were. For viewers who felt Carrey was robbed at last year's Academy Awards for his performance as Truman Burbank, they will be three times as shocked when they realize how much he deserved this year's Oscar for Best Actor as Andy Kaufman.
Carrey wasn't the only one overlooked for an Oscar. Forman does his best directing since "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and leads a talented cast in a funny and poignant film. Co-star Courtney Love is amazing as Kaufman's girlfriend, showing once again that she is one of the few singer-turned-actresses that CAN act, and Danny DeVito's portrayal of Kaufman's agent is his best work to date.
If you want to rent a film that will make you laugh, make you think, and do the unthinkable- understand one of Hollywood's most confusing and underappreciated comics- rent "Man on the Moon." It's the must-see rental of the summer.
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