Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond Screen 71 of 6 reviews

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

2017

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond Poster
  • It’s an amusing pileup that in its excess hints at the rich weirdness that emerged when Mr. Carrey nearly went off the rails playing Kaufman in the biopic “Man on the Moon.” One of those tidy, fumbled stories of genius, it will be forever supplanted by this movie’s dizzily, fantastically entertaining account of its two strange, twinned and messy geniuses.

  • Is Man on the Moon a better film for Carrey being Kaufman rather than merely doing his best imitation when the cameras are rolling? It's impossible to know, but Jim & Andy makes the persuasive argument that Carrey's commitment to the role allowed everyone else in the production to understand and appreciate Kaufman better than they might have otherwise. Yet there's a deeper, sadder emotional undercurrent that tugs at the documentary, suggested by "The Great Beyond" part of the title.

  • Smith, known for his off-kilter docs whose structure and aesthetic reflect their subjects, allows Margulies's footage to take center stage. Unlike Kaufman, Smith uses structure rigidly, sequencing clips of the real Kaufman and Carrey's Kaufman and Carrey's other performances to support Carrey's retrospective anecdotes and ruminations.

  • Disaster emerges naturally in the form of Tony Clifton, the artist’s most obnoxious alter ego, who turns up on set asking for trouble, arguing, crashing cars and getting hammered as he pleases. But Smith is clever enough not to let chaos take the reins yet again: he balances the increasingly wild and bewildering archival material with a present-day conversation with Carrey at his most calm and relaxed, and it’s the combination of these two opposing forces that ultimately make the film work.

  • Breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and frightening scenes of Carrey imitating—being—Kaufman on the set are scattered throughout “Jim & Andy,” but they’re rendered as snippety-snippets, decorated with music, parenthesized with Carrey’s current-day remarks—consistently and frustratingly defanged, neutered, packaged.

  • On one level, the peculiar and often-objectionable behavior on display here looks credible. On the other hand, at no time in this footage is Carrey seen consulting a script or looking for a mark, which were things he surely needed to do. Of course making you question how much of what you’re seeing is fake or real, or “fake” or “real,” was also the larger point of Kaufman’s work.