Published Dec 01, 2017Tommy Wiseau's The Room is supposedly the worst movie ever made, but it paved the way for James Franco to make his first true masterpiece. As director and star, you can tell he's utilized everything from his impeccable comedic timing to his intimate knowledge of art and academia to craft a truly visionary project that manages to deliver plenty of absurdist comedy while also humanizing its subject.
That said, it's not a belaboured project. The film feels relaxed and lived in, adopting a straightforward pace to tell a story of friendship, failure and redemption. Visually, it recreates the late '90s aesthetic with embarrassing accuracy while also utilizing plenty of corny pop electronica in its soundtrack.
Based on The Room star Greg Sestero's book of the same name, The Disaster Artist is an uproarious attempt to piece together how the unknowable Wiseau created his unlikely classic. The story is told through the strangely resilient friendship of Sestero (Dave Franco) and Wiseau (James Franco).
Though he stars, James Franco is nowhere to be found in the film — he's completely embodied the role, disappearing into Wiseau's eccentricities without resorting to broad impressions. As a result, he manages to humanize Wiseau, maintaining all of his strangely hilarious behaviours while also demonstrating the passion and humanity that drives his decisions.
While the rest of the cast is a who's who of modern comedy (including Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael, the three real-life hosts of the bad-movie podcast How Did This Get Made?), the humour is mostly situational. Rather than write jokes, the actors simply react to Wiseau's manic mannerisms.
That's not to say it isn't funny — plenty of The Disaster Artist will have you keeling over in laughter. But it's also a warm, energetic and strangely empathetic film that will spur conversations about outsiders, artistic intent and what it means for one to truly forge their own path. It's a warm hug of a comedy that truly lives up to Wiseau's ongoing mantra — you can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself, but please don't hurt each other. (Elevation Pictures)