REVIEW: The Disaster Artist
Directed by James Franco
By Christopher Spencer
Directed by and starring James Franco, The Disaster Artist also stars Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Josh Waterston, Alison Brie, and Jacki Weaver. Based on the bestseller by Greg Sestero (played here by Dave Franco), The Disaster Artist chronicles the friendship between Sestero and the enigma known only as Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), and how it led to the making of The Room, the “worst movie ever made”.
Just who the hell is Tommy Wiseau really? That is one of the many questions that The Disaster Artist attempts to answer, but not in the expected way. Wiseau’s mysterious background, wealth and age are not discovered, but we instead learn who this strange man really is in James Franco’s inspired and unbelievable performance.
The Disaster Artist is more than just “that movie about the making of The Room”; it’s a story about a friendship so strong and heartwarming that a level-headed actor like Greg Sestero never doubted his insane friend even when making something awful. We see both Francos have a special connection in their characters, obviously mirroring real life in often touching ways. Dave plays Greg quite well, but James IS Wiseau in every way, becoming this man in a performance of his career.
The movie is also unbelievably hilarious, maybe moreso if one has seen The Room. If not, you can still get a true kick out of Tommy Wiseau’s inexplicable actions and decisions as well as the honest reactions from everyone around him. It is definitely the funniest film this year because of its reality and sharpness to land jokes perfectly.
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s ((500) Days of Summer, The Fault in Our Stars) writing is deft and insightful, Brandon Trost’s cinematography is like a documentary, and Stacey Shroeder’s editing is quite fluid and incredible in its shot-reverse-shots. Under James Franco’s own direction of the movie, these filmmakers all work so well in tandem to creating what is essentially comedic genius.
The Disaster Artist can feel slow in the first half, because this movie is more about Tommy and Greg, not the more well-known story of making The Room. It does take the time to set up these characters as real people, but some scenes feel oddly repetitive or pushed slightly past their limits.
Hilarious ideas like Wiseau thinking his own ass can sell a movie, with the sweetness of Sestero trying to do right by his friend, and the central theme of believing in dreams of fame no matter what, The Disaster Artist is a brilliant film. James Franco has excelled as both actor and director and made something legendary. What a story!