Review: The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist is the perfect title for a film about Tommy Wiseau, the brains behind 2003’s cult classic The Room. Wiseau produced, wrote, directed, and starred in The Room – a movie widely known as one of the worst films ever made.

The Disaster Artist focuses on more than just the making of a film. It follows Tommy (James Franco) and Greg (Dave Franco), two aspiring actors that move to LA with dreams of becoming big movie stars. After running-in-place for a while, Tommy decides to make his own movie – The Room. The journey making the film is almost as insane as the movie itself.

Even with the eccentric Tommy Wiseau at the center of the story, the movie takes time to focus on both Tommy and Greg’s journey from acting class to The Room. The Franco brothers have a natural chemistry that helps frame the brotherly relationship between Tommy and Greg. Every argument or shared smile feels like you’re watching an actual friendship develop between the two.

Like a true method actor, James Franco produced, directs, and stars in The Disaster Artist (just like Tommy with The Room). A lot of the film falls on Franco’s shoulders and he carries the weight without breaking a sweat. Franco’s performance as Wiseau is so good it’s almost spooky. What’s impressive isn’t just the spot-on impersonation. It’s the subtle way he plays Wiseau. Franco could’ve played Wiseau as an over-the-top crazy man. Instead, he plays up the oddball nature of Wiseau while showing how Wiseau also saw himself as sophisticated and a serious artist. Franco nails everything form the inaudible exchanges to the way Wiseau approached everything with such confidence.

Dave Franco might be overlooked come award season, but he gives a tremendous performance as Greg. This is Dave’s best performance to date. He was able to give Greg depth and make him one of the most sympathetic characters in a story almost too wacky to be true. This gives a glimpse that Dave Franco can take on more serious roles and might be on the podium one day accepting an award.

The film manages to be hilarious and not just a big budget parody of The Room. The script pulls out parts of Tommy and Greg’s story that are hilarious without painting the two of them as buffoons. The characters and ridiculous situations are handled seriously without sacrificing the absurdity of it all.

The two man stars are surrounded by an all-star supporting cast that includes Josh Hutherson in a hilarious role, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Hannibal Buress, and Jason Mantzoukas.

The Disaster Artist is a love letter to The Room. It’s a feel good story about a man trying to reach his dreams. It’s a movie that could’ve easily laughed at Wiseau did, but it never does. Franco crafts a heartfelt tribute to one of the most iconic movies every made.  James Franco gives a  phenomenal perofrmance and may be a dark horse during Oscar season.

Grade: A-