The Disaster Artist
James Franco is a good actor and has been good in many things. I prefer him as a leading man like what we see in the SPIDER-MAN movies or arguably FREAKS AND GEEKS, but he’s going for the weird character actor angle, and that is *sort of* working for him. He is a good actor and he is good in THE DISASTER ARTIST, his latest of many directorial efforts. THE DISASTER ARTIST is *good*, but it is hollow and needed a good rewrite.
Tommy Wiseau (Franco, in a strong performance) is coasting in acting classes when he meets Greg (Dave Franco) and they opt to move to LA together. Greg struggles and Tommy flounders, Tommy eventually decides to make his own movie, which becomes the famous bad film, THE ROOM.
The rest of the movie follows the production process and the first thing I notice is how flat it feels. This should be a story bustling with energy because the guy it is about is such a weirdo and the movie is as bad as it is. Franco never really brings anything interesting to the director’s chair. It makes you wonder why he’s there and whether someone else would have been more qualified to take the mantle.
The movie reeks of stunt casting, from Dave Franco as Sestero (he bears no resemblance) to Seth Rogen as one of the camera assistants. Judd Apatow is in there, too, but it was a proper choice. It didn’t seem like Franco auditioned actors based on who was right for the part rather than he just picked his friends. The results aren’t awful, but they should be better considering the source material.
Franco’s Wiseau is the most important aspect of the film. It’s a good performance, but Franco seems to want to do a lot of different things with him. Is Wiseau controlling and manipulative? According to the book, yes. Is he a lovable idiot? Or a misunderstood dreamer? Franco’s marketing as the latter, but based on the movie it seems like he’s playing three different characters.
He never really becomes Wiseau, either. Let me provide examples; Denzel is Malcolm X, Peter O’Toole is T.E. Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman is Truman Capote, etc. Franco never finds what those three did.
I think the movie is funny, and it moves quickly, Franco paced it very well. There was no outright awful performance.
THE DISASTER ARTIST is a lot less interesting than it should be, it’s a movie that makes you want to read the book it was based off instead.
Written by Jeff Turner