From the moment James Franco’s Tommy Wiseau enters the plot of “The Disaster Artist”, be prepared for hilarity to ensue. The Disaster Artist, coming to all Australian cinemas on December 3rd and select cinemas November 30th, is one of the best movies to come out in 2017.
The story, which is based on the book by the same name, tells the tale of Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), a 19-year-old aspiring actor who meets the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in acting class. They decide to attempt making it big in LA and when that fails, they create one of the biggest cult movies in recent history, The Room.
If you are unfamiliar with the movie The Room, then make time to watch it before attempting to view The Disaster Artist. Whilst Disaster Artist is made to be watched by someone unaware of The Room, there are so many references and direct quotes from that movie that will completely fly over the head of someone who hasn’t viewed it beforehand. Frankly, without knowledge of the cringe-worthy lines and lack of continuity that suffocated The Room, then some of the continual jokes from the Disaster Artist will make little to no sense.
Also, long-time fans of Wiseau’s mysterious biography should not expect any answers from this movie, despite various teases. The movie never pins down Wiseau’s age or background and despite being a movie about The Room, The Disaster Artist hazards no guesses into how and where Wiseau came across the $6 million dollars to fund his poorly conceived movie. The climatic point in which Greg Sestero confronts Tommy about these things provides no further insight and is never properly resolved. This will leave audiences with a sense that they missed something, because there are no answers to Tommy Wiseau related questions.
These are the only hangs up to be found in an otherwise great movie and I maintain that no one else could have played Tommy Wiseau besides James Franco. Franco’s Wiseau is shudder-inducingly good as he portrays Wiseau’s antics with a fearlessness that Tommy would be proud of. Despite being a comedy and with a heavy focus on Wiseau’s bizarre manners and mysterious ways, Franco plays him with a great amount of respect – In Franco’s eyes Tommy Wiseau is a hero. Because of this, the audience can’t help but like Franco’s Wiseau and even more surprisingly, feel sympathetic to his character.
Dave Franco’s as Greg Sestero was also a wonderful choice. These brothers are so in sync for this movie which only ads to Dave Franco’s sincerity as Greg Sestero. Whilst Greg is often the normalising focus of the movie with a somewhat standard career projectory in comparison to Tommy’s zigzag of life, even he has his insane moments. This makes the partnership between Sestero and Wiseau much more understandable.
The Disaster Artist is compulsory viewing for anyone who has ever viewed The Room and wanted to know more. It’s highly anticipated release is completely justified as it consistently provides comedy gold and an interesting insight into the behind the scenes going on whilst filming The Room.
Review by Brittany Treadwell
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