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August 5, 2011

Movie Review: The Death of Andy Kaufman (2011)

Andy Kaufman was probably the most unique comedian that ever lived. He was part comic, part character actor and part performance artist. I read Bob Zmuda's book, Andy Kaufman Revealed! Zmuda shared details of the kinds of pranks Kaufman would play. At one point, he wanted to fake his own death. Zmuda and the rest of Kaufman's friends told him that it was a terrible thing to do. Many think that Kaufman did it anyway. Director Christopher Maloney decided to research the possibility that Kaufman might still be alive.

Buy The Death of Andy Kaufman on DVD

I was really looking forward to this movie. When I popped it in, it didn't take long for my disappointment to set in. The camera work was very poor. The movie starts with an extremely shaky shot of the camera operator's hand wiping snow off of Kaufman's headstone. We soon cut to archive footage of Kaufman that looks like the camera was pointed at a television running a VHS tape. This is how all of the archive footage looks. Another element that really ruins the mood of this movie is the narration by Maloney. He sounds like he's bored with his own work. This is the one element that he could have easily fixed. If your voice isn't working, get someone else to read the copy.

I'll give Maloney a little credit. He does his legwork in researching the possibilities of Kaufman's disappearance. He speaks with an old friend of Kaufman's, a compound that he may have lived in and his brother Michael. The interviews were pretty flat, and all of the theories are dismissed pretty quickly. So much more could have been done here. I can see that Maloney's resources were limited, but he really could have put forth more of an effort. I can't recommend this movie at all. It's a lackluster look at something that really is much more interesting than what is presented.

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