Chris Smith directs Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman and Milos Forman in this documentary looking back at the Man On the Moon biopic, and how living as comic hero Andy Kaufman drove megastar Jim Carrey over the edge of sanity.
This combined biography of Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman doesn’t really have enough content to set it out as anything more than glorified DVD extra. As a précis of Kaufman’s unique genius you get the headlines, as a look into Carrey’s descent into method madness it becomes repetitive very quickly. Not that the candid shots of Danny DeVito and Paul Giamatti sighing and rolling their weary eyes in the background don’t have their own perverse pleasures. So there’s 90 minutes of footage if not 90 minutes of story. The documentary works best as a reassessment of Carrey, overnight sensation who hustled on the Canadian and Hollywood comedy circuit for decades before becoming the most bankable star of the Nineties. Star of comedy blockbusters who has unique films like The Cable Guy, The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine and, pointedly, Man on the Moon, filling out his CV at the height of his success. The present day Carrey comes across as a unhinged but adorable figure… aware he made some greats and didn’t take the easy sequel buck too often. He pushed himself when he could have taken a far easier route. The results are the rich yolk of his oeuvre. The famous talking head who stares at us intensely but benignly espouses his philosophies and spiritual justifications for his on-set craziness. He was channelling Kaufman. One feels on a different day the zen and self awareness of such a stand-alone comedy icon might be utterly different.