The experience of watching Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’ should always be a shared one; that is, after you wade your way through the nonsensical plot lines and outlandishly bad yet perennially quotable dialogue, you may need someone there with whom to voice, what did I just watch?
Watching ‘The Room’ is a thought-provoking experience and one that leaves you full of questions like; How do bad movies get made? Who pays for them? Who made this bad movie and why am I enjoying it so much? And who is that guy with a face like Churchill’s left nut sack?
These are questions ‘The Disaster Artist’ aims to answer and does so with hilarity, love and meticulous attention to detail in this faithful adaptation of the memoir written by The Room’s star and producer Greg Sestero.
The story of how ‘The Room’ was made and its ‘see all credits’ star Tommy Wiseau is a ludicrous one to say the least, yet James Franco, who directs and plays Wiseau himself, treats the story with remarkable sincerity. It could have been so easy to make a parody. Wiseau is one hell of an imitable character. Deluded, belligerent and sporting a nondescript Eastern European accent he pretends not to have, to mock would have probably been just fine.
Franco, however, side steps this neatly with an honest yet understated performance that sees him melt seamlessly into Wiseau’s idiosyncrasies and make them almost flattering. Flattering enough to have received a 99.9% approval rating from Tommy himself.
Hearing Franco voice some fan favourite Wiseau-isms generates huge laughs. So do the practically frame for frame recreations of some of The Room’s most infamous scenes: as the post-credits montage demonstrates. The film reaches its crescendo on the night of the premiere, as we get to see the moment Tommy is left flip-flopping with his emotions, facing an audience gone wild with incredulous laughter, not quite the reaction he was hoping for.
The film really benefits from having the Franco brothers play the best friends Tommy and Greg. There’s an obvious camaraderie and an understanding of the need to build each other up in the face of rejection. What was truly surprising was that the film, though riddled with jokes, was often a heart-warming experience.
At its core, The Disaster Artist is an exploration of friendship, dealing with insecurity and staying true to what you believe in. Whether justified or not, Franco painted Wiseau as the brave outsider who never gave up. Therein, I believe, lies the secret to The Room’s popularity. So there you have it. Art can never be bad when it comes from a place of integrity, right?
Anyway, how’s your sex life?