MOVIE REVIEW: From disaster, a minor masterpiece

James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist.
James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist. Justina Mintz

DISASTER master Tommy Wiseau might not be a holy fool, exactly, but nor is he a straightforward simpleton.

James Franco's passion project offers a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the making of The Room, a cult classic dubbed "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" by one eminently quotable academic.

Rather than cast its central character as a figure of fun, Franco's deftly directed biopic gives Wiseau the respect he is due - neither romanticising nor demonising his unorthodox behaviour.

Even scenes such as the one in which Seth Rogen's script editor observes that the alleyway set Wiseau has just had built is an exact replica of the one immediately outside their studio are not milked for laughs.

Dave Franco and James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist.
Dave Franco and James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist. Justina Mintz

While Franco's nuanced performance embraces Wiseau's flaws - the man is vain, needy, insecure and manipulative - the character remains oddly endearing.

The intensity of Wiseau's commitment, combined with an utter lack of self-awareness, lends him a strange kind of dignity.

According to Franco, the writer-actor-director-producer-financier of The Room initially wanted Johnny Depp to play him. But he would be hard-pressed to find a more fitting tribute than this riveting, three-dimensional portrayal.

Based on the tell-all memoir of the same name by Greg Sestero (played here by Franco's younger brother, Dave), The Disaster Artist is an unexpectedly poignant story about friendship and following one's dreams.

Of course, it helps when the dreamer has the means to bankroll their production to the tune of $US5 million plus.

But even that sort of money can't buy talent.

James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist.
James Franco in a scene from the movie The Disaster Artist. Justina Mintz

While The Room revolves around a love triangle involving Johnny (Wiseau), his temptress fiance Lisa (Juliette Danielle) and his best friend Mark (Sestero), it contains a significant number of subplots that don't lead anywhere.

As the puzzled actress who plays Lisa's mother (Jacki Weaver) points out, her breast cancer revelation isn't picked up again for the duration of the screenplay.

Its relevance to the overarching story remains a mystery, as does the origin of Wiseau's fortune, and the genesis of his accent (Wiseau insists he was born in New Orleans).

Directed, produced by and starring Franco, The Disaster Artist is as much a labour of love as its source material. But the movie about the making of a movie benefits from superior technical knowledge and acting talent.

The most surprising aspect about this singular movie about a singular individual is its universal entertainment value.

The Disaster Artist opens tomorrow.


The Disaster Artist

Stars: James Franco, Dave Franco and Seth Rogen.

Director: James Franco

Rating: M

Verdict: 4 stars 

Topics:  dave franco james franco movies the disaster artist tommy wiseau

Council wishes ratepayers 'Happy Holidays', cops earful

The greeting on the back of the latest edition of Gympie Regional Council's Round-up newsletter which is sent out to ratepayers.

Gympie council under fire again - this time over its season greeting

Be on the lookout for chickenpox

Following a string of chickenpox cases north of Gympie, families are being urged to remain cautious

There's been a large number of cases north of Gympie

Social media 'ripping apart society', says Facebook's ex-VP

Facebook has a messenger app for kids under 13 Employees have lunch at the canteen at Facebook's headquarters. Picture: Daniel Leal-olivas

YET another former Facebook executive has come forward

Local Partners

‘Men work harder’: Sunrise hosts fire up

A VERY controversial claim by David Koch resulted in some stunned responses by his female colleagues on Sunrise this morning.

FIRST LOOK: Plans revealed for INXS museum at Ballina

An artist's impression of the proposed INXS museum for Ballina.

Business leaders meet for exclusive look at cultural, arts hub

‘Lindsay Lohan chased us’: Paris Hilton explains iconic photo

Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton pictured on a night out together in Los Angeles in November, 2006. Picture: X17/BackGrid

Lindsay Lohan wasn’t even supposed to be there.

Meet the comedian who exposed Louis C.K. long ago

Comedian Louis C.K. admitted sexual misconduct

She knew about his sexual misconduct for years before the public.

Radio host’s joke earns her death threats

Ash London has been hit with death threats from One Direction fans

Host sparked the ire of thousands of teenagers

WATCH: Maclean musicians share stage with Paul McCartney

READY AND WAITING: Scott Rhodes, Alister Smith, Mandy Pateman and Laura Sanford before taking the stage to perform Mull of Kintyre at Paul McCartney's One on One show at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Maclean and District Pipe Band members perform at encore in Brisbane

Alice's perfect little world

TALENT: Gympie singer-songwriter Alice Benfer has been nominated for a Tamworth Songwriters' Association award for her song Perfect Little World.

Gympie talent nominated for top award