The Disaster ArtistCultureCinemaMovie reviews
In 2003, The Room premiered in Los Angeles and was labelled “the worst movie of all time” by most critics. There are worse movies in existence (as anyone who’s watched both Birdemic films will testify), but none as popular and infamous for its mediocrity. In the new feature from actor-director James Franco, The Disaster Artist tells the story behind this 1-star success and the relationship between insecure actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) – on whose memoir the picture was based – and Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), a mysterious lurch with big dreams.
Names like James Franco and Seth Rogan don’t inspire much confidence anymore (especially after The Interview) but The Disaster Artist is a comedy more mature and hilarious than anything they’ve been involved with. Wiseau is, naturally, a figure of fun and that can’t be ignored, but he’s not an underdrawn cartoon character. He’s a loving, deluded human being who wants to make great art and ends up falling on his face. But despite his weirdness and his delusions, we end up loving him.
Wiseau is eloquently portrayed by Franco, who turned Method and directed in-character as Tommy behind the camera (giving meta a whole new meaning). Although Franco’s face is more beautiful than Wiseau’s, it’s often difficult to differentiate between the two. The actor adopts Wiseau’s bizarre, indistinct Eastern-European accent to perfection and never feels like an impersonation, which anyone who’s seen The Room is wont to do. Dave Franco, the younger Franco brother, is cast perfectly as Greg and one feels their sibling relationship guiding their performances. The characters love each other and sometimes hate each other, and this is captured so naturally by both performers.
It’s disappointing that Alison Brie, a brilliant comedic actor in her own right, plays Greg’s clichéd, judgemental girlfriend. This is the most substantial female role of the film and she’s such a depthless presence in an otherwise engaging character comedy, serving only as a two-dimensional conflict for Greg and Tommy.
The Disaster Artist is a fascinating comedy about modern moviemaking – not only covering the tumultuous struggles, but also the feared futility. Unlike other movies-about-movies like Tropic Thunder or Eleanor Coppola’s documentary Hearts of Darkness, Tommy doesn’t have a good product by the end – The Room was a senseless piece of rubbish. But there’s something inspirational about the people who made it. They’re underdogs of the most calamitous kind.
The Disaster Artist is released natonwide on 6th December 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Disaster Artist here: