Thursday, May 02, 2002

The Movie I Watched Last Night XVIII
Wednesday: Man on the Moon
I was first introduced to Andy Kaufman back in the late '80s via a song by the Gomers, I think. And while I haven't seen all of his work -- much less many episodes of Taxi -- I have been extremely impressed by his comedy and blending of the personal and the professional. The man was a walking prank. From his Tony Clifton persona to his stint as a wrestler, Andy lived and breathed comedy. And you could never tell where the joke begins or ends. Despite the dangers of biographical movies such as this, "Man on the Moon" largely works, both as a telling of Andy's life story -- and as a portrayal of his actual performance and life style. I had my doubts about Jim Carrey's ability to ape Andy, but he does well, adopting Andy's mantle as who might be today's most skilled ever-evolving, flexible comic actor. Casting Courtney Love as Andy's love interest, Lynne Margulies, was also a risk -- but it pans out OK. She wasn't half as irritating in the role as I usually find her (I actually quite dislike her.), and she and Carrey manage to pull off several impressive moments of true intimacy and tenderness. If you're at all interested in Andy, his life, or his comedy, this is worth checking. But if you know nothing about the man, it's best to expose yourself to -- and to explore -- his actual work.

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