Rating: 4 out of 5
A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the 2003 movie The Room, which is widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made, even as it has developed a cult following. Based on the book by The Room's star Greg Sestero, it takes a remarkably personal look at the antics of aspiring actor-filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, who is played by James Franco with gonzo charm.
In late-1990s San Francisco, Tommy meets Greg (played by Dave Franco) in an acting class. As they struggle to find work, they make a pact to support each other. After moving to Los Angeles, Tommy decides to fund his own movie from his mysterious fortune, with himself in the lead role opposite Greg. They hire a cast (including Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron and Jacki Weaver) and crew (including Seth Rogen and Paul Scheer) and set out to film Tommy's screenplay for The Room. But everyone has second thoughts, since Tommy has no discernible skill at acting, writing or directing.
The Room is indeed a terrible film, but it's remarkable simply for the fact that Wiseau managed to make it. And by accepting that the public saw his melodramatic romance as an awkward comedy, he has actually made money from it. The irony about this story is of course that the profoundly untalented Wiseau had enough cash to finance the project himself. Franco plays him with affection: he's a jerk to everyone, and refuses to admit his age, nationality or where he got his millions, but he's tenacious and loyal. It's a terrific performance that never winks at the camera. And the Franco brothers bring superb camaraderie to the screen in what becomes a surprisingly involving bromance.
Around them, the starry ensemble (including a blinding array of A-list cameos featuring everyone from Megan Mullally to Sharon Stone) has a lot of fun diving into their colourful roles. This gives the film a full-on atmosphere that's thoroughly amusing, and it's also strikingly revelatory about the way things work in Hollywood. So while the plot sometimes feels a bit fragmented, a series of outrageous scenes rather than a single narrative, it's thoroughly entertaining on a variety of levels. The fiercely clever casting alone makes it worth the price of admission, but this is also the kind of movie that makes us fall in in love with cinema all over again. And it'll make you less afraid to admit your guilty pleasures.
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Facts and Figures
Production compaines: New Line Cinema, RabbitBandini Productions, Point Grey Pictures, Good Universe, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Ramona Films
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Cast & Crew
Director: James Franco
Screenwriter: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Starring: James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, Dave Franco as Greg Sestero, Seth Rogen as Sandy Schklair, Alison Brie as Amber, Ari Graynor as Juliette Danielle, Josh Hutcherson as Philip Haldiman, Jacki Weaver as Carolyn Minnott, Zac Efron as Dan Janjigian, June Diane Raphael as Robyn Paris, Andrew Santino as Scott Holmes, Nathan Fielder as Kyle Vogt, Hannibal Buress as Bill Meurer, Sharon Stone as Iris Burton, Melanie Griffith as Jean Shelton, Paul Scheer as Raphael Smadja, Jason Mantzoukas as Peter Anway, Sugar Lyn Beard as Bonnita Boudreau, Eliza Coupe as Erica Chase, Zoey Deutch as Bobbi, Jason Mitchell as Nate, John Early as Chris, Peter Gilroy as Timothy, Kelly Oxford as Amy Von Brock, Tommy Wiseau as Henry, Greg Sestero as Casting Agent, Casey Wilson as Casting Director, Randall Park as Male Actor, Jerrod Carmichael as Actor Friend, Brett Gelman as Acting Teacher, Kristen Bell as Herself, Bryan Cranston as Himself, Adam Scott as Himself, J.J. Abrams as Himself, Erin Cummings as Female Guest, Tom Franco as Theatre Participant, Michelle Arthur as Himself, David DeCoteau as Casting Person, Ricky Mabe as Front Row Premiere Attendee, Shane Ryan as Tommy's date at premier, Tamzin Brown as Actress #1, Cate Freedman as Mama's Boy, Amechi Okocha as Actor at Premier, Cameron Brinkman as Girl in Red Dress, Nicole Gordon-Levitt as Girl on Phone, Elizabeth Hirsch-Tauber as William Morris Agent, Jenna Curtis as Bartender, Frederick Keeve as Herself, Angelyne as Confused Person, Adwin Brown as Actor at Premiere, Slim Khezri as Door man / Bouncer, Corey Weber as Homeless Man, Phillip E. Walker as Coco, Katherine Neff as Auditioning Actress, Taylor Laughlin as Guy Driving Alfa Romeo, Johnny Meyer as John, Xhuliano Ujka as Jarrod's Friend, Tearra Oso as Movie Premiere Attendee in Blue Shirt, Vince Chavez as Film Critic, Isaac Phillips as Auditioning Actress, Krista West as Guest, Aidiye Aidarbekov as Actor at Premiere, Kara Gibson as Actor at Premiere, Resit Berker Enhos as Waiter, Steven Liu as Crew Member, Hans, Tudor Munteanu as Premiere Analyst, Frank Lui Geo as Movie Premiere Actor, Bill Rojas as Jeff, Mark Anthony Petrucelli as Zsolt Magyar, Zhubin Rahbar as Movie Premiere Guest, Javi Sánchez-Blanco Boyer as Model Party Guest, Jolie Mitnick Salter as Trophy Wife, Ramona Tibrin as Premiere Film Critic, Frankie Ponce as Bartender, Vincent Marinelli as Cast and Crew, Adonis Simmons as Auditioning Actress, Elena Cristiean as Movie Premier Guest, Cerra Angela Vallentine as Actor at Premiere, Ron Saylor as Blonde at Casting, Danny Finneran as Hooker, Eloho Josephine Okujeni as Movie Premier Actor, Dan Byelich as Costume Girl, Cynthia Natera as Waiter, Jordan Daem as Romano, Max Valentine as Himself, Kevin Smith as Himself
Also starring: Evan Goldberg