Man on the Moon (1999)

man on the moon movie poster
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good cast

Wish they had played with the movie format more

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Man on the Moon

Studio:  Mutual Film Company

Genre(s):  Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  December 22, 1999

MPAA Rating:  R



Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) has a dream of being an original.  With a completely original comedy act, Kaufman is more about the song and dance than the jokes.  With George Shapiro (Danny Devito) as his agent, Andy is about to hit the big time, SNL, Taxi, and movies could make Andy a success…but success is a double-edged sword for Andy.

Directed by Miloš Forman, Man on the Moon is a biopic of Andy Kaufman.  The movie received mixed to positive reviews and Jim Carrey was praised for his portrayal of Andy Kaufman.

Jim Carrey was working on making a tradition between comedy and drama.  The Truman Show was his first real foray and he followed it with this film.  While this movie does have its moments, I can’t say I enjoy it that much.


Blurring the lines of reality…

The movie starts out by introducing the idea that Andy Kaufman himself is playing with the format of the movie by playing the credits first.  I wish that this theme had continued through the movie so you weren’t sure if it was a true biopic movie or if it was all fake (kind of like Adaptation).  You are seeing an altered version of reality and it could just be another joke by Kaufman.

Instead the movie is rather formulaic beyond the opening sequence.  It shows Kaufman’s rise to fame, his struggles, and ultimately his demise.  With the type of character Andy Kaufman was, the movie could have been quite original and different.  I doubt that Kaufman would have approved of this film as he is portrayed within the story.


Marilu still looking good!

The acting for the movie however is quite good.  Carrey does a decent job mimicking Kaufman, but I’m more interested in how the movie cast people.  The movie utilized real people often playing themselves…but twenty years later.  It is odd to see Jerry Lawler, David Letterman, and the cast of Taxi recreating their roles in Andy’s life.  It also mixes some of Andy’s real acquaintances and recasts Danny DeVito (who was in Taxi) as Andy’s agent.

Man on the Moon is one of those movies that almost makes it over the hump, but it could have reached higher.  If it adhered to Andy’s “song and dance” style of performing, it would have been a real interesting picture, and I think it is that type of movie I was hoping for.  Fans of Carrey and Kaufman should probably check it out, but it still leaves something to be desired.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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