Starring: Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman, Milos Forman
Director: Chris Smith
Running Time: 94 mins
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond is an American documentary about how Jim Carrey adopted the persona of comic Andy Kaufman on the set of the biopic Man On The Moon.
This isn’t your average documentary. While Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond portrays a riveting story of all of the behind-the-scenes events of Man On The Moon, it feels on the one hand like its own comedy-drama movie, with Jim Carrey’s on-set exploits causing trouble every which way, and yet on the other manages to be a very calm and surprisingly deep self-exploration, delving into a variety of complex topics about life, career and identity.
One thing that I found great about this movie is that you don’t need to have seen the film Man On The Moon, or even know who Andy Kaufman is. Of course, many of you will have that in the bag, and I’m sure it can add even more intrigue, but the film is excellently set up from beginning to end, featuring great explanations of both who Kaufman was and what the film about him was trying to tell, and why it was Jim Carrey that became so involved in it.
In that, there’s a really riveting story about men being outside the box and the circle of their profession. Kaufman is portrayed as a comedian unlike any other, while Carrey’s bizarre method acting places him firmly outside the typical Hollywood circle, as he begins to rile up almost everybody else on set.
For me, that side of the story was by far the most interesting, and most entertaining. As Carrey admits himself, his on-set mischief as he adopts the persona of Andy Kaufman and his alter ego Tony Clifton are a movie in themselves, and watching the madness and confusion in all of his co-workers as his method acting goes deeper and deeper is both hilarious and really intriguing to watch unfold, proving a simply bizarre comedy-drama that plays out right in the middle of a documentary.
On the flipside, this film also puts a lot of focus on some deep self-examination from Jim Carrey. Alongside all of the footage of the behind-the-scenes (kept secret for nearly 20 years to protect Carrey’s reputation), the film’s only interviewee is Jim Carrey sitting in a room, looking directly at the camera.
From start to finish, his analysis of his actions and behaviour at the time, as well as the personas of Kaufman and Clifton, and his own comedy career, from young stand-up to Hollywood hot shot, is consistently deep and emotionally riveting. There are times when he goes into some very abstract and philosophical spheres, as if you’re watching the Eternal Sunshine side of Jim Carrey, but on the whole, his role in this documentary is very unique, and offers up an unexpectedly deep look into what at first glance seems like a man just going crazy with his method acting.
Overall, I was impressed by Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. It’s not a normal documentary, but its bizarre and previously unheard of story prove both fascinating and enjoyable watches throughout, while Jim Carrey’s own input and insight into the story is also just as riveting, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.