Man on the Moon | Chicago Reader

Man on the Moon

This engrossing, empathic biopic (1999, 118 min.) seems to have everything. It has a fascinating subject, performer Andy Kaufman, whose provocateur's humor was—according to the movie—motivated as much by deeply felt politics as by obsession and compulsion. It has virtuoso Jim Carrey in a role he seems to have been born to play, and it's filled with references to the contrivances of fictionalized biography that reflect the character's (and the real Kaufman's) manipulations of his persona. But though it suggests intriguing ideas about the nature of performance, humor, ambition, and the consumption of spectacle, the movie only superficially explores them. Milos Forman directed a screenplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. Larry Flynt); with Danny DeVito, Paul Giamatti, and Courtney Love.

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