The Disaster Artist hits Amazon Prime this month so I sat down to watch arguably the most critically acclaimed film that I missed last year.
Based on the book of the same name, the A24 product chronicles the making of the 2003 film The Room, a cult hit with a so-bad-its-good status that is widely believed to be the worst movie of all-time. The Room came from the mind of the eccentric Tommy Wiseau, a man who has never revealed his true origins, age, or where exactly he got the money to single-handedly fund the film’s supposed six million dollar budget.
While The Disaster Artist does offer a bit of a window into the making of The Room, it is clear that its true intention is to depict the relationship between co-stars and friends Wiseau and Greg Sestero. We follow Tommy and Greg from when they first met in an acting class in San Francisco through The Room‘s premiere in 2003, and the two bond over their shared desire to make it big in Hollywood. After struggling to find roles, they decide to make their own movie, to be written, produced, and directed by Wiseau and starring the pair.
Thus, The Room was born.
Dave Franco plays Sestero, the author of the book of the same name on which The Disaster Artist is based. His performance here is certainly a weak point. Franco’s stuttering, shy-guy shtick is shockingly overacted and all but unbearable. The Tommy-Greg bromance storyline never truly gains any traction with Dave neutralizing the drama.
While James Franco certainly nails the Wiseau impression—his reenactments are particularly hilarious—he seemingly doesn’t understand the man he plays. At times it feels like Wiseau is used as a prop; perhaps this is most obvious as James delivers feel-good platitudes. Hearing these bland lines from the mouth of “Wiseau” is uncomfortable, to say the least; there is undoubtedly something fishy about it. And considering James’s past artistic endeavors, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that he was more interested in the spectacle of playing Wiseau than a more genuine desire to bring his story to the big screen.
Having seen The Room and not having found it nearly as enjoyable as its following does, I wasn’t particularly concerned about how James handled the source material. However, I wouldn’t think this film would sit well with hardcore fans of The Room. Taking the most bizarre film ever made and transforming it into a by-the-numbers drama seemingly bastardizes The Room. Maybe aiming to bring a cult film to the mainstream like this doomed this movie from the start.
All in all, The Disaster Artist has some success in its reanimation of The Room but falls rather flat when it comes to its attempts at drama.