Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton
directed by Chris Smith
by Alice Stoehr A few decades ago, Jim Carrey was a rising star of stand-up comedy ready to leave the Toronto suburbs. In mid-'90s Hollywood, he became a household name. Now he's wistful and solidly middle-aged. "Every time you open your mouth you learn something about yourself," he says. "Especially when you play characters." This introspection forms the spine of Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, a documentary about his performance as Andy Kaufman in the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon. The present-day Carrey wears a leather jacket, with a salt-and-pepper beard on his famously rubbery face. Shot head-on or from a three-quarter view, he recounts turmoil on the film's set: "Most people felt that the movie was happening behind the camera." A trove of long-suppressed behind-the-scenes footage woven around the interview shows Carrey disappearing into his role, much to director Miloš Forman's chagrin. He insists his co-stars address him as "Andy;" parades around as Kaufman's loathsome alter ego, Tony Clifton; and repeatedly antagonizes wrestler Jerry Lawler, who plays himself in the movie. Kaufman's real-life family drops by the set and can hardly believe the resemblance.