Monday, December 18, 2017

The Disaster Artist **** (2017)

The Disaster Artist tells the bizarre true story of the 2003 film The Room, directed by Tommy Wiseau. To this day little known as to how Wiseau came up with the 6 million dollars to make the film, nor anything about his origins. James Franco's comedy is an instant classic, a hilarious film about an awful movie. I've never heard so much laughter during a screening. 

The story begins at an acting class with aspiring actor Greg (Dave Franco) meeting Tommy and they become best friends. Tommy's a little eccentric and clearly has no talent, but he believes in his own artistic genius (often comparing himself to Tennessee Williams). The obvious comparison here is Ed Wood, another no talent director who made unforgettable films like Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 From Outer Space against all odds, as told in the 1994 Tim Burton movie Ed Wood.

Greg and Tommy struggle to find work and move to L.A. Greg meets a nice girl (Alison Brie) and starts to get work, but Tommy cannot get arrested in Hollywood. Finally, Tommy decides to write his own script and finance his own film. Then The Disaster Artist takes the comedy to another level.

Seth Rogen is hilarious as the script supervisor Sandy, who stands aghast as Tommy shoots his movie. The plot of The Room involves a love triangle, with Wiseau's young fiancee setting sights on his best friend and chaos ensues. On the set Tommy makes ridiculous demands, forgets his lines, and berates the cast and crew.  Ari Graynor is excellent Tommy's baffled co-star; many from previous Franco films make cameos.

Everything leads to the premiere screening of The Room. The audience is repulsed and shocked at first, but eventually falls in love with the movie. The unintentional humor of The Room must be seen to be believed.

James Franco's acting and direction are first rate, on par with Mel Brooks and Judd Apatow at their best. The Disaster Artist is not a cynical comedy either, beneath the humor there's a positive message about perseverance and friendship.

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