James Franco both directs and stars in “The Disaster Artist”, alongside his brother, Dave Franco. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a cult film titled “The Room” by Tommy Wiseau (portrayed by J. Franco). I had no idea this cult film existed prior to watching the movie. Do you have to see “The Room” to fully understand this biopic? Not necessarily, as the movie does a side-by-side mini-reel leading into the credits. Does “Disaster Artist” make you want to run home and watch “The Room”? Not really, unless you just want to. But let’s get back to the review.
James Franco does a great job of portraying Tommy Wiseau, even down to his speech, his long, stringy black hair, and his odd mannerisms. He perfects a good balancing act between humor and emotion in this movie. You laugh at his character’s quirkiness but you also can sympathize with his character’s moments of sadness or social awkwardness. One scene in particular, where Tommy Wiseau is thrown out of a restaurant after an impromptu audition at a Hollywood exec’s dinner table, is evident of Franco’s ability to speak without speaking. You see humiliation, disappointment, and sadness flick across his face and sparkle in his eyes. He delivers a solid performance. Do I believe he deserves a seat at the Oscar’s table? I’m not sure- my verdict is still out pending other movie viewings. Do I believe his Screen Actor Guild nom is deserving? Yes, most definitely.
James Franco certainly steals the show from his brother, Dave Franco, who does a decent job at portraying Greg, a wannabe-actor. Seth Rogen appears in the film as a script supervisor and does his role in providing comedic foil to J. Franco. Look closely for cameos from Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, and Bryan Cranston!
Overall, I would say this film does it’s job- a enjoyable, watchable biopic with enough comedic timing to not make the pace drag or appear dull.
My rating: 3 reels out of 5.