The Disaster Artist is the story behind the making of The Room, one of cinema’s most popular ‘so bad it’s good’ movies. Dave Franco plays Greg Sestero, a young, handsome budding actor. In his search for stardom he meets Tommy Wiseau, a fellow actor with an air of mystery played by James Franco, who also directs this film.
James Franco’s impression of Tommy Wiseau is flawless. His performance is hilarious, from his strange speaking cadence to his bizarre laugh. However, it is the darker side of Tommy’s personality that is impressively captured. Tommy can be quite detestable at times, particularly when he manipulates Greg, and mistreats his cast and crew. Within his performance, Franco balances the humour and darkness with an undertone of insecurity as Tommy’s fears begin to reveal themselves.
Unfortunately, Greg and Tommy are the only fully fleshed out characters in the film. Alison Brie as Greg’s girlfriend is given little to do, which is disappointing given her excellent performance in Netflix’s GLOW. The performances of Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, Ari Graynor and Jacki Weaver are all excellent, but they just give (albeit accurate) impressions of the comically bad performances from the cast in The Room, and little effort is put into extending the personalities of the actors behind their famous roles. Seth Rogen and Paul Scheer give humorous turns as members of the crew on The Room but only have limited screentime.
The relationship between Tommy and Greg offers genuinely heart-warming moments. Tommy’s delusional personality is one which the audience can easily sympathise with, his childish mannerisms and naïve view of the world leads to some moments of sadness.
The film has fairly mediocre cinematography with the most impressive aspect being the shot for shot recreations of scenes from The Room. This is part of the problem with the film and is what I fear will make it ultimately forgettable. Another issue is that most of the entertaining scenes are scenes from The Room and therefore it is probably more worthwhile to watch that instead. However, some of the insights into what made The Room so bad are hilarious and are worth watching the film to see.
The perfect accompaniment for The Disaster Artist would be Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, the tale of the director behind Plan 9 From Outer Space. Both of these films are relatively similar in tone as a comedic exploration of deluded men, who are convinced of their ability to succeed in one of the world’s hardest industries in which to succeed, but ultimately, Ed Wood is a much better film than The Disaster Artist, with a more fantastical directorial style. After watching The Disaster Artist, I couldn’t help but feel like it could have been something more in the hands of a more imaginative director, who could have elevated the source material above what is essentially a rather funny comedy.
The Disaster Artist is in cinemas nationwide now. Image source: Vox.com