‘The Disaster Artist’ Blu-Ray Review: Dramedy About Man Behind ‘The Room’ Quickly Becomes Frustrating
In case you’ve never heard of The Room, here’s what you essentially need to know: it’s a film that some people would argue can barely be considered a real movie. Directed, produced, written and co-starring Tommy Wiseau, the 2003 drama has been widely regarded as one of the worst films of all time for a myriad of reasons.
‘The Disaster Artist’ Blu-Ray Review
The Disaster Artist — directed by and starring James Franco — is a behind-the-scenes look at Wiseau, the man behind the making of the movie, as well all the other cast and crew members who were involved in the flop film’s production. Academy Award nominee Franco plays the eccentric Wiseau, a man who is unabashedly reluctant to divulge many things about himself, including his national origin and age.
Specifically, The Disaster Artist tells in part of the friendship that developed between Wiseau and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), another struggling actor whom he meets in San Francisco in 1998 and moves to Los Angeles with in the hopes of making The Room. The Disaster Artist is based on the memoir of the same name by Sestero, one of the main actors in The Room.
James Franco is certainly captivating as Wiseau, to a certain degree. He genuinely portrays the naive yet resilient outcast who dreams of one day making it in Hollywood. Nevertheless, his performance does not seem remotely worthy of a Golden Globe win, at least not compared to the other actors in the Best Actor (Comedy) category this year like Daniel Kaluuya and Hugh Jackman.
Franco speaks with a child-like, whiny and droll voice throughout the entire film — an intonation that seems like a visibly exaggerated impersonation of Wiseau’s accent — that rapidly becomes irritating. It seems unclear at first whether Wiseau is actually mentally impaired or simply foreign-born. However, many of the events in the film strongly suggest he may be both. (The film states that to this day, nobody knows where Wiseau is from, how old he is or where his seemingly more-than-sufficient financial savings come from.)
More impressive is the younger Franco brother Dave as Sestero, who like Wiseau is prepared to take huge risks to achieve his goal of becoming a major Hollywood star. Dave Franco is absolutely endearing as one of the few people who was (apparently) extremely patient with and kind to Wiseau despite his lack of performance and artistic abilities — on top of a strange, vampire-like look, an even weirder voice, and a stubbornness and brazenness with regard to getting what he wanted that made scores of people rightfully uncomfortable. Dave Franco’s performance — along with a handful of laugh-out-loud funny moments and a great soundtrack — is one of the few redeeming qualities The Disaster Artist boasts.
The Disaster Artist ultimately seems like a very rushed portrayal of Wiseau and recounting of how The Room was made. One would have to read Sestero’s novel to see how the two compare, but it’s clear that this film about the creation of, well… a disaster, would have been better suited as a documentary series — perhaps one that included interviews with the cast and crew of The Room — than as a biographical film.
Blu-Ray bonus features include a Gag Reel, a “Laugh-Out-Loud Audio Commentary” with the two Francos, Wiseau, and Sestero, and three featurettes including “Just a Guy Leaning on a Wall: Getting to Know Tommy.”
At least the film had the opportunity to show viewers what great chemistry the two Franco brothers have, and what potential Dave has as a versatile actor, unlike poor Greg Sestero — who never starred in an another well-known Hollywood film ever again.