Feeling Torn. The Disaster Artist (2017) Review

The Disaster Artist is a must-see for any fan of The Room. It is a great comedy that mocks the film’s flaws, recreates classic scenes and also an engaging drama that depicts its genesis. However, the structure and plot make the film less than what it could be.

The Disaster Artist pic

The Comedy

The humour is very meta as most of the jokes basically make fun of The Room. As the cast and crew are shooting, they are baffled by the script. They approach Tommy constantly, questioning issues like Denny’s age, Johnny laughing at Mark’s creepy story and the fact that Claudette’s breast cancer is only mentioned once. Their criticisms is very similar to those of most audiences, making the film very relatable and even more funny.

The crew watch in awe at their director at work [Credit: Warner Bros.]
Some humour comes from Tommy himself and how weird and arrogant he is. The depiction of Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist seems to be a clear exaggeration of the Tommy that appears in the media. He’s a man with a vision who’s trying to blend into a culture that’s completely alien to him. So many great scenes spawn from this characterization. It can’t be said that Tommy is the funniest element in the film as the meta humour is still very strong. The truth is that both elements work tremendously and together they create a great comedic experience.

The Drama

The narrative is presented from Greg’s perspective, making him the protagonist. Even though he’s not as fun to watch as Tommy, he does have a desire and a weakness, which make him relatively empathetic. He dreams of becoming a Hollywood actor but his self-consciousness prevents him from performing convincingly.

That is until he meets Tommy, who teaches him how to be fearless when performing. This leads to a friendship that acts as a strong foundation for the drama. As hilariously weird Tommy is, we see that to Greg he’s almost a brother. I think their relationship is one of the big highlights of the film, especially when we witness their struggle to break into the industry.

While Tommy is presented as an oblivious clown, he is given some humanization. He wants to act, create, express himself but his look, accent and attitude detract the big Hollywood producers. His characterization and past may not be understood but his passion and desire certainly are. As Tommy tries to make it in Hollywood, he is rejected by numerous drama teachers and producers, each one more vicious than the previous. This makes for some legitimately hurtful scenes as we see Tommy depressed and discouraged by his failures.

The Structure and Plot

I thought that the way the film chronicled the shooting and production felt very incomplete. The Disaster Artist essentially presents a series of scenes of the cast and crew shooting specific sequences from The Room, which while very funny, feel quite random. The shoot is a subplot that doesn’t really have a plot. It just starts, has a bit of conflict and then ends all of a sudden. I think there needed to be more tension, the goal of the shoot had to be made clear so that there could be an engaging plot with escalating adversity.

There’s also a major plot hole that I couldn’t get out of my mind. As Greg and Tommy are shooting, their relationship crumbles. Greg becomes increasingly more offended by Tommy’s direction and choices, yet he continues to act in the film. Why doesn’t he quit if he can’t stand the production? I’m sure this is addressed in the book of the same name but it’s never dealt with in the film. It’s a significant flaw that seriously affected my engagement in the plot.

Overall, the structure and plot could’ve been a lot stronger however the comedy, the drama and the clear attention to detail when recreating The Room, is good enough for me to recommend it.

I give The Disaster Artist a good 6 out of 10.


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