Funny ‘The Disaster Artist’ Takes Us Back to ‘The Room’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Room” is a post-millennial cult movie that plays the midnight and college movie circuit, entertaining audiences with its sheer badness. Its story is told in the “The Disaster Artist,” featuring James Franco as the director of “The Room,” and he also directed the film. Very meta.

There is a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel quality to the story, because the “movie within the movie” is notably terrible and Tommy Wiseau, the creator and star of “The Room” that Franco portrays, is an easy to parody odd duck. Having said that, the movie is winsome and funny, and the sincerity of the performances go a long way towards making it work. There are amazing recreations of “The Room,” including a side-by-side comparison during the end credits, and the film is done with a passion toward its subject, in both making fun of and celebrating it… basically it’s a buddy picture about being in the picture.

We first meet Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in an acting class, where his schtick is clearly outside the mainstream. A fellow classmate named Greg Sestero (Dave Franco, co-starring with his brother) is taken with the mysterious Tommy, and connects with him to become a better actor. The acting mates take it a step further… they move from Northern California to Hollywood to pursue their dreams of being in the movies.

Disaster1
Greg (Dave Franco) and Tommy (James Franco) of ‘The Disaster Artist’
Photo credit: A24

Tommy’s past, his age and his source of income is vague, but Greg lives on his dime, even as he pursues a relationship with Amber (Alison Brie). As both acting careers stall in La La Land, Greg suggests that they make their own movie. Tommy responds by writing “The Room,” and foots the bill for the production of his vision. Cut to the hijinks and hilarity of filming a bad movie.

The James Franco “gang” is part of the production, which made it feel like an inside joke on an inside joke. The film begins with celebrity endorsements of “The Room,” by Hollywood hipsters including J.J Abrams, Danny McBride, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Scott, Kristen Bell and Kevin Smith, and then the cast is filled with the usual suspects of Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Allison Brie, Megan Mullally and Ari Graynor (Rogen’s wife). Throw in roles for Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith and Jacki Weaver and it’s a cult wrapped into a cult wrapped into an enigma (not really, I just wanted to type that sentence).

The film is funny, which best recommends it. Even though some jokes are obvious, they still land, and Dave Franco uses his wide-eyed persona to perfectly foil his brother’s hammy performance as Tommy… their chemistry is good, honed by years of brotherly love, and that doesn’t always happen. The story itself is slight and the result is predictable, but the “brothers in arms” survival instinct of Tommy and Greg is well honored, and a reminder that especially in filmmaking, no matter the result, that it takes a village to accomplish it.

Disaster2
The Real Tommy Winseau Promotes ‘The Room’
Photo credit: A24

This is also a must-see for fans of “The Room,” much as the fans of “Psycho” loved the insider film “Hitchcock” of a couple years back. I’d certainly revel in a movie about one of my favorite movies, or in this case a movie about a cult favorite, much like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” The success of “The Room” on the cult circuit was organic (like “Rocky”), and even the making-the-sausage elements of “The Disaster Artist” only adds to “The Room” mystique.

The other night, the real Tommy Wiseau appeared with James Franco on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” After years of saying his odd accent was based in New Orleans, Tommy offered to Jimmy that he originally was from “Europe.” This flabbergasted the usual unflappable James F., and in a sense Tommy W. just derailed the interview like he had derailed the film exhibition world. Very meta.

”The Disaster Artist” has a limited release, including Chicago, on December 1st, and will open nationwide December 8th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor and Jacki Weaver. Screenplay adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Directed by Ruben James Franco. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Writer, Editorial Coordinator
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2017 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker