There are a number of legends associated with Andy Kaufman, the subject of the film, Man on the Moon. One of the most persistent ideas is that he didn’t actually die on May 16, 1984 at the age of 35. Another is that he was/is a comic genius.
During his life (and we will for the purpose of this review, assume that Kaufman DID die of lung cancer in 1984); he was associated powerfully with two characters (although there were more).
Most fans of the late 70’s-early 80’s series, Taxi, would remember him at Latka Gravas, the Lithuanian immigrant taxi driver, and those who had followed Kaufman’s stage acts, may remember him being associated with the obnoxious Tony Clifton character also.
There are a number of treats accompanying the film. There is REM’s superb video clip and song, Man on the Moon, based on Kaufman’s life and backdrop to some of the events of the film. There are appearances in the film by leads from the Taxi cast (eg. Judd Hirsch, Christopher Lloyd, Marilu Henner, Danny de Vito). There is the fact that Kaufman’s girlfriend and one of his closest male friends are involved with the production.
A keynote of the film though is Carrey’s superb recreation of the character of Kaufman. For this reviewer it is really irrelevant how close Forman got to the truth of the person that is Andy Kaufman. Does anyone in their perception really understand who anyone else is? All that a biographer can do, is do as much honesty as possible to the material that is before them. In my view, Forman has attempted through Carrey to recreate Andy Kaufman and to present rather than totally explore, a rare comedic talent and perhaps a thinker approaching either genius or madness.
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