Review Roundup: Is THE DISASTER ARTIST Oscar Buzz-Worthy?
THE DISASTER ARTIST is based on Greg Sestero's best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy Wiseau's cult-classic disaster piece THE ROOM ("The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made"). The film stars James Franco, Dave Franco, and Seth Rogen. It is directed by James Franco.
The movie's world premiere was at the South by Southwest Festival in March 2017. It was also just screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) yesterday
See what the critics are saying (some of them have Oscar Buzz!) before the film opens tomorrow December 1st.
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter: "James Franco, meanwhile, makes for a terrific double threat. While he's clearly having a blast in the role of his career, he's also a generous director who gives his all-star ensemble - which also includes the likes of Judd Apatow, Megan Mullally, Zac Efron, Zoey Deutch, Bryan Cranston and Jacki Weaver - ample opportunity to shine. Equally satisfying is the adaptation by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (the team behind 500 DAYS OF SUMMER and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) that strikes a giddy, winning balance between hilarity and heart."
Peter Debruge, Variety: "Clearly, despite the undeniable comedic potential of playing Wiseau in all of his tyrannical capriciousness, Franco feels a deep empathy for the man, evident even when depicting Wiseau's frequent tardiness, his virtual inability to deliver his lines, and his angry tirades against a justifiably skeptical cast and crew (all of them grateful for the gig, and some of whom saw THE ROOM as their big break). And yet, missing from his otherwise outstanding performance is some sense of the wounded little kid locked deep within, trapped in a room of Wiseau's own making, who merely wants to be loved."
Brian Truitt, USA Today: "A hilarious comedy with enough personality clashes and drama to give it some heft, THE DISASTER ARTIST is director James Franco's enjoyable ode to the creative process - any creative process, really. It's also one of Franco's strongest roles as an actor, capturing every little quirk and quality of a definite eccentric...The film is an interesting beast, being a sort-of biopic of someone who is mostly unknown: If you've never seen THE ROOM, DISASTER ARTIST might as well be out-there fiction. The funniest material does call back to Wiseau's "best worst movie," so while it's not entirely necessary, doing some preliminary viewing homework is worth it. Franco re-created parts of THE ROOM for use throughout DISASTER ARTIST, his best filmmaking venture to date. However, he makes a bigger impact in front of the camera as a man we can't begin to wrap our heads around, but who serves as a bonkers metaphor for the very human need to create."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "And as a director, Franco succeeds beautifully at bringing coherence to chaos, a word that accurately describes the making of this modern midnight-movie phenomenon. Do you need to see THE ROOM to appreciate THE DISASTER ARTIST? Not really. The recreations of key scenes from that kitsch classic are shot with stunningly tacky verisimilitude and played to the scrappy hilt by an up-for-anything cast, including Zac Efron, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson and Jacki Weaver. These merry pranksters make sure that this movie is a comic bonanza that deserves to form its own cult. But it's James Franco who hits a new career peak as actor and director by making sure his film is as heartfelt as it is hilarious. THE DISASTER ARTIST is his baby. But the movie beautifully pays tribute to both their talents."<
Ben Travers, indieWire: "As THE DISASTER ARTIST progresses, you notice the separation in his performance: Franco allows himself to play into the jokes when Tommy is off-camera, and he rejects all of his comedic instincts when filming scenes from THE ROOM. That allows Tommy to be truly funny in order to serve the comedy written into THE DISASTER ARTIST. Franco can hit a joke as Tommy, even though Tommy can't land a punchline on camera to save his life. As Rogen's character says in the movie, "It would be weird for Tommy to do something that's not weird." Most importantly, everyone should be able to laugh along with Franco even if they won't fully appreciate his work without seeing THE ROOM. By recognizing the many layers of his character, he helps make the movie approachable. And while a close look at Wiseau's film would make Franco's tribute more meaningful, THE DISASTER ARTIST largely works because it brings us closer to Tommy while reveling in the same ingredients that have turned him into an icon."
Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post: "Into this season of the Serious Movie, when every other film seems to speak to the troubled times in which we actually live, the fact-based, yet farcical THE DISASTER ARTIST blows like a fresh breeze, throwing open a window through which we may escape, briefly, from ugly reality. Inspired by the making of the movie THE ROOM - a labor of cinematic ineptitude that has been called "the CITIZEN KANE of bad movies" - this sweet, affectionate (and unapologetically slight) comedy is an all-too-rare homage to harmless, hilarious incompetence, at a time when there is plenty of the more hurtful kind to go around. If it isn't quite up to the standards of ED WOOD, Tim Burton's 1994 tribute to the auteur of such misbegotten fruits of moviemaking as PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, it is nonetheless a much-needed distraction.
Sam Fragoso, The Wrap: "Aside from the undercurrent of pathos, it's James Franco's impeccable comedic timing that is the film's ace in the hole. Obsessively preparing for the part, Franco mastered Wiseau's vaguely European accent (his birthplace remains unknown) and staggered speech. No one speaks like Tommy Wiseau. Well, except James Franco. Without reducing or simplifying, Franco captures Wiseau's genuine earnestness, his unbridled enthusiasm for moviemaking. As DISASTER ARTIST proceeds, Wiseau's lifelong desire to direct a feature film is granted. It's here Franco calls in the cavalry to help re-create the inner workings of a dysfunctional set. Everyone from Seth Rogen(also executive-producing) and Josh Hutcherson to Hannibal Buress and Zac Efron make appearances as actors and crew members on THE ROOM. Miraculously, DISASTER ARTIST avoids getting too busy with all these moving parts. The supporting players end up illuminating Wiseau's eccentricity instead of undercutting it. This is a good movie about a bad movie that should be bad."
Photo Credit: THE DISASTER ARTIST Official Facebook Page