Venice Film Review of ‘Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond’ Starring Jim Carrey

Documentary shot on set of 1999's 'Man on the Moon' explores how comedy and identify mix.

September 8, 2017 11:53 am

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — featuring a very special, contractually obligated mention of Tony Clifton just screened at the Venice Film Festival. It is built around 20 hours of candid footage from Milos Forman’s 1999 biopic of Andy Kaufman, Man on The Moon, where Jim Carrey plays Kaufman. This footage was originally shot for use in a press kit, but it was stored by Universal for the past 20 years.

Variety writes that Carrey “nailed every nuance of Andy Kaufman’s spirit” in Man on the Moon but that it wasn’t until Jim & Andy that he realized how much the two comedians had in common.

The on-set footage was shot by Kaufman’s former girlfriend, Lynn Margulies, and his frequent comedic partner, Bob Zmuda. Chris Smith obtained access to the footage and combined it with present-day interviews with Carrey. In those, Carrey looks back at the Kaufman film, but also at his personal career as a whole, both the ups and downs of celebrity life. Variety writes that Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond explores celebrity and performance and is a meditation on “comedy and identity.”

During the filming of Man on the Moon, Carrey stayed in character, even when the cameras weren’t rolling. The off-stage footage displayed in Jim & Andy shows Carrey behaving as Kaufman would in many ways, such as being a “pest” or a “stunted, exhausted man.” Variety writes that Man on the Moon is a misunderstood film—it is really about how Kaufman gave up his own identity for show business, and in doing so, brought in an age of entertainment that consumed everything, from our thoughts to our identities.

Smith, an intensely personal filmmaker tries to tell the stories of both Carrey and Kaufman, and discuss how they intermix, in just 90 minutes. According to Variety, the film will leave you with the thought: “Who, exactly, is me?”

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