Man on the Moon

Bomb Rating: 

Don't delude yourself into believing that critics see films in a bubble. They have their biases. They sometimes read things about the movies before they see them or watch an interview on television. More often than not, the two dozen doughnuts they inhale before the film gives them gas and they blame not feeling well on the director. In my case, I happened to see Owen Gleiberman's 1999 ten best list in "Entertainment Weekly." "Man on the Moon" was numero uno.

Gleiberman's list is enough to make any sane person go cross-eyed trying to figure out what aesthetic values he used, since his list looks like it was made by a chimp who threw tomatoes at title cards taped to a wall. Nevertheless, the number one spot is quite an honor, and I had to wonder what all the fuss was about.

I still don't know. I also don't know any more about Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) than I did before I saw the film, which is the least you'd think you'd get out of it. There's no particular insight into Kaufman's character other than to point out that he be was better at pissing people off than making them laugh, which is something any moron could figure out by watching the evolution of his career. What director Milos ("The People vs. Larry Flynt") Forman fails to understand is that not all of us read "People," get our daily news from the front page of "The National Enquirer," drink Sprite because the commercials tell us to obey our thirst, believe that Elvis is still alive, or thought that Andy Kaufman's "humor" was anything other than a put-on.

All this movie really does is recreate Kaufman's most famous performances, which is a waste of time if you've already seen them. Frankly, the "Taxi" scenes were absolutely stupid because Forman uses the actual actors from the series except now they're twenty years older. It's ridiculous. Jeff Conway hasn't aged well and Marilu Henner looks exactly like the pasty-faced, wheat-grass drinking, self-help freak she's become. And Danny DeVito isn't even in those scenes because he plays Kaufman's agent, a pointless piece of casting. David Letterman also helps recreate the Jerry Lawler fracas on the show, except that Letterman is Letterman of new, not old. And Norm MacDonald appears on the recreation of "Fridays." Was he on "Fridays"? Anyway, all this casting just makes watching the film weird, annoying and not the least bit entertaining -- which, when you think about it, is a fitting tribute.

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