[Review] The Disaster Artist: Anatomy of a disaster

Considered one of the worst movies of all time, The Room has been a cult favorite for over a decade. So much so that James Franco and his gang decided to tell the story of its genesis. Was it really necessary?

The Disaster Artist took over a year to arrive in our region. In France, this reluctance can nevertheless be understood. If The Room , the Citizen Kane of bad films enjoys a real reputation on the other side of the Atlantic , it is a little less the case in France although it remains a subject of passionate debate between worshipers of girls.

Aware of the more or less limited scope of his original material, James Franco tries to infuse universality into the story he tells. It is therefore aimed at a much larger audience, even if it means teaching unconditional fans nothing new.

Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) is a passionate man, who decides one day to make a film with his own funds. Accompanied by his sidekick Greg Sesteros (played by Dave Franco), he writes, produces and stages The Room , a drama based on a love triangle in which he also stars. The result is so scandalous that it provokes the hilarity of the spectators. The Disaster Artist traces the creation of this work from elsewhere, obviously very appreciated by the band to Seth Rogen.

If this film fascinates fans so much, it is above all because Tommy Wiseau is a man apart. The first part of the footage reminds us of this by portraying a nice marginal, who believes hard as iron in the American Dream that he sees on the billboards. Perfectly made up, James Franco delivers a breathtaking performance. Here again, those who do not know the real actor will see it as boasting, but the actor has literally become Wiseau.

The laughter, the disjointed diction, the absurd flirtations are indeed those of the self-proclaimed actor. Franco also feels the need to insist for long minutes by mirroring scenes from the film compared to those replayed by him. A didactic choice that underlines the desire to go beyond the initial fan base.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his brother Dave, who never manages to fully feel the embarrassment that the shooting of such a film may have caused in Sesteros. The impact that the latter had on his career and his private life is here almost eluded. This relative disappointment fades, however, when the filming of the feature film takes place, from the casting to its production. Filmed as a false making-of, the latter then turns into a series of hilarious sketches, which Judd Appatow would not deny.

James Franco gives it all to his heart and uses his own ego (he’s also a producer, director and lead actor!) To play this failed but fascinating filmmaker. You have to see him ask an aspiring actress to play Shakespeare “in a sexy version” to be convinced. The relatively discreet staging forces the viewer to focus on this strange guy, whose film crew constantly wonders who he really is.

As carried by a desire not to offend his model, James Franco retains the cryptic aspect that has always surrounded him. Who is he ? How old is he ? Where do its infinite funds come from? So many unanswered questions, which feed a form of homage to the “Wiseau Mystery”. A choice of narration that we would have liked to see justified by a more decided look on the latter.

While retaining its humorous tone, this comedy could have explored the little-known story of a man visibly led by his hubris, and absolutely incapable of questioning himself. An axis of reflection that would have allowed fans to dive deeper into the absurd psyche of this Ed Wood at a discount. Here, the portrait of this sweet nutcase allows Hollywood above all to redeem its conscience, in particular thanks to a happy ending full of cameos from real stars. Fortunately he makes us laugh a lot as we pass.