Comedian Andy Kaufman gave performances that were bizarre and difficult to categorize, in which he might do or say almost anything: show cartoons, impersonate Elvis Presley, play conga drums while singing children's songs, read aloud from The Great Gatsby, or take the audience out for milk and cookies. Written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and directed by Milos Forman (the team behind The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)), this biopic takes an in-depth look at Kaufman's life and art, with Jim Carrey as Kaufman, who could (and would) be any number of different people onstage: the quiet and childlike man, the little foreign guy, the overbearing showbiz "professional," the violently obnoxious wrestler, or the world's worst lounge singer. As Kaufman rose from comedy clubs to guest appearances on Saturday Night Live and a spot on the TV sitcom Taxi, his performances became more complex and dangerous -- so much so that when word got out in 1984 that he was suffering from lung cancer, many fans and associates thought it was just another bizarre stunt; the disease took his life later that year. Man on the Moon features Danny De Vito as Kaufman's manager George Shapiro, Courtney Love as his girlfriend Lynne Margulies, Paul Giamatti as his friend Bob Zmuda, and David Letterman, Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Carol Kane, and Christopher Lloyd as themselves.
by Mark Deming synopsis