How funny you’ll find this disturbing biographical comedy-drama depends on your interest in behind the camera action and tolerance of deliberately poor acting.
It’s based on the making of the 2003 film, The Room, made by the obsessive and eccentric driving force, Tommy Wiseau. He wrote, financed and starred in the production which premiered in 2003 to gales of unintended laughter. It now has a cult following and is often referred to as one of the worst films ever made.
Hollywood loves to celebrate its creativity onscreen, particularly in ways which emphasise how difficult it is to succeed in the industry, such as Tim Burton’s finest film, Ed Wood. The Disaster Artist is cast from the same mould, though not to the same glorious standard.
A passion project for producer, director and star James Franco, he gives a remarkable performance as Wiseau, presented as a shady narcissist who abuses cast and crew.
However the film considers this forgivable because Wiseau’s finding emotional truths in order to connect with an audience.
This is often a terrifically funny film ,but also a troubling one. Franco’s younger brother Dave plays Wiseau’s protege, Greg. This adds a troubling incestuous twist to the sexual undercurrent of their relationship, further muddying the waters of exploitation in a deeply uncomfortable way.
To a degree this film has been overtaken by events. Presenting Wiseau as a sympathetic and almost heroic figure for pursuing his creativity even at the expense of others, is an interesting position to have in these post-Weinstein era.