Against all logic, Jim and Andy is not for the Jim Carrey fans. While it offers a unique insight into his views, philosophy and some great behind-the-scenes footage from one Carrey’s best performances, it also demonstrates a man who is seemingly unhinged and obsessive. Its unclear whether Carrey is proud of this time, ashamed of it or just indifferent but as you watch, you wonder how anyone put up with this man’s behaviour.
The warning signs start immediately as Jim Carrey describes being “possessed” by the real life Andy Kaufman, who he was about to start portraying in the film “Man on the Moon.” We then get footage of the comedic actor pretending to be Kaufman, insisting people call him Andy and generally irritating everyone around him as he insists that he is not just staying in character, but that Andy Kaufman has taken control of him.
As annoying as Carrey clearly was, and you will be annoyed by his antics as you see how much it riled the people around him, it does offer a fascinating look at how the movie was made. Man on the Moon is a very good film and Carrey gives a great performance in it, and the documentary offers some perfect behind-the-scenes footage, capturing the process of creating these characters, as well as Carrey’s bizarre behaviour.
Carrey himself is very open about the whole process too. Some actors may look back at this kind of behaviour and consider it embarrassing or a time in their career they would want to forget, blaming it on impetuous youth. Carrey embraces it though, explaining his thoughts, experiences and being able to take a look at the whole experience with a philosophical view. This is a man who has changed his outlook on life and you get some great nuggets of wisdom from Carrey which will resonate with some people.
What he doesn’t demonstrate is any remorse for the way he seemingly terrorised cast and crew on the set. You begin to get frustrated with how he was left to act the way he did, unchallenged. Moments make you wince, as he pretends to be Andy to members of Kaufman’s family. It even borders on the ridiculous when friends of the real-life Kaufman, like WWE Superstar Jerry Lawler, call the whole charade out to Carrey not really knowing what Andy was truly like.
Aside from the sparse interviews with people like Lawler, filmed back when the film was being shot, there are no other modern talking heads other than Carrey. This feels like an oversight, as Carrey laughs and jokes about the antics, you wonder, looking back on a film made in 1999, how the other actors and the director truly feel about the experience. At times you see the exasperation, particularly from director Milos Forman, as he is trying to wrangle a movie set and a loose cannon movie star.
Overall, Jim and Andy offers a great insight into how Man on the Moon was made, from exclusive, well documented behind-the-scenes footage. What is also shows is a movie star overindulging and acting so frustratingly badly that you get irritated by his antics. The film is always interesting though, you just wish you heard more of the other side to the tale and perhaps less of Carrey’s remorseless musings.
Rating – 4
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