I have always been a huge fan of Andy Kaufman and in fact should have reviewed this all the way back when this first came out. I remember going to theaters opening night and loving this film from beginning to end. Particularly the way the film opened but alas I did not and finally felt the need to do so. This film is truly one of my favorites combining Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey together in a role that seemed like only Carrey could really play. I always have loved the Golden Globes for awarding Carrey the best lead actor award, and have never truly felt the same about the Oscars for not even giving him a nomination. Still this is truly a special film about a special person.
For those who do not know Andy Kaufman was never a comedian as much as he was an entertainer or performer, he says so himself in the film. But the man was a genius on a completely different level from the average person. The stuff you see in this film actually did happen; believe it or not he really did do these things. Everything from wrestling women and Jerry "The King" Lawler, to reading a book on stage to punish his audience, all the way to a huge night performing that lead to milk and cookies for the audience. The man truly was ahead of his time, and whether you loved him or hated him no one can say he was not memorable. I mean who else lead a different life as another character they created like Tony Clifton.
As for the film this is one of the better biopics out there and not just because of who it is about, but also because they stuck to his style. I remember in the theaters the opening of the film was so extremely Kaufman's style and actually had people thinking they came in late and the film was over. No person ever other than Andy would want to annoy and trick his audience like that, but like I said you would remember him. Still keeping with that style the film never truly gives you a clear cut answer on his death and leaves you really wondering about a possible faking of it. Director Milos Forman and writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski did a great job in portraying Andy as the madman he was, never going too far into his personal life and leaning more so to his crazy antics and style [the way Andy would have wanted this film done I believe].
Jim Carrey gives his best performance ever as Kaufman from the voice to mannerisms and everything else Andy is brought to life once more. There was never a moment in this film that I felt I was watching Carrey, it truly felt like Andy up on that screen. His dead on impersonation of the Elvis character in Andy's style and Carrey as Andy playing Latka or of course everybody's favorite Tony Clifton. Paul Giamatti is brilliant playing Kaufman's best friend and co writer Bob Zmuda [who is really in the film as Jack Burns and is also an Executive Producer], another perfect casting choice for the film. Paul has always been one of my favorite actors and shines in this film as always. Danny DeVito who really did know Andy from their days on Taxi together plays Andy's agent and friend George Shapiro [who is also really in the film as Mr. Besserman and also an Executive Producer]. DeVito who also was a Producer on the film seemed like he truly enjoyed working on this film.
For those who did not notice Norm Macdonald and The King of Queens Patton Oswalt are in this film briefly as is the WWE's Jim Ross as the wrestling announcer, but that leads me into one of my favorite things about this film, Jerry Lawler. The whole pro wrestling part of Andy's life is excellent and the fact that Lawler was a part of that is excellent. Courtney Love is good in this as well as Andy's love and I actually doubted her when this first came out but she did a good job. In fact everyone in this film did a great job from the smallest part to the largest; top to bottom it was good.
This film is about a talented and revolutionary man in the entertainment business who played by his rules and had a lot of fun along the way. Sure he did do some mainstream stuff like Saturday Night Live, and Taxi but you have to remember the character he played on Taxi was a character he created as a nobody, who else has done that. The DVD is full of information on him and does indeed have real footage of the actual Andy, you can find them kinda hidden in the bio part of the special features in you move up to the faces of Andy I believe. There are behind the scenes and some excellent music videos by R.E.M. called "The Great Beyond" which was made just for this film and of course the classic amongst classics "Man on the Moon". Both are excellent songs with great videos, and like the movie itself are both dedicated to the one, the only, the always memorable Andy Kaufman.