James Franco takes a break from directing Faulkner adaptations and arty festival fare to make his first commercially viable film yet. The Disaster Artist is an adaptation of a book of the same name which tells the story behind the making of the best bad movie of all time: The Room.
James Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, the mysterious writer, director, producer and star of The Room, but we mostly experience Wiseau through Greg Sestero (played by Dave Franco), who met Wiseau in acting classes, co-starred in the film and wrote the book that the film’s based on.
The title would be more accurate if it were called The Imitation Artist. James Franco’s Wiseau is dead on and the main reason to see this movie. He really does disappear in the role in a way we haven’t seen him do since Spring Breakers. While the performance is already getting him Oscar buzz, the fact that the film is predominantly a comedy could hurt his chances (got that Golden Globe though). It’s a pleasure to watch Franco inhabit this character so fully, but the art of imitation is taken to its limit with the unnecessary (albeit still impressive) meticulous recreation of scenes from The Room.