I'd not known of the film 'The Room', the making of which this current film is based - a film reputedly so 'bad' that it's acquired a cult status as being good entertainment for all the reasons it wasn't intended to have. I think having prior knowledge, and preferably having seen, that original film would have been an immense advantage to appreciating 'The Disaster Artist', as evidenced by at least a couple of the audience I was with being in such high hysterics at every turn that they were broadcasting in their laughter an element of "We know why its funny!" so as to be madly irritating and making me, for one, more determined than ever to keep a straight face - which, as it turned out, wasn't so hard anyway.
James Franco (a poisonous presence to some, I'm well aware) directs this film and plays the off-puttingly ambitious and over-earnest, long-haired director, Tommy Wiseau, possessing a fortune whose origins are unexplained just as his own age is unclear, meeting in San Francisco, late 1990s, with aspiring actor Greg Sestero (Franco's younger brother, Dave - looking more like James F. than James F. himself - and nicer looking!).
The two of them going to L.A., after some false starts in which Wiseau's self-confidence over-reaches himself and he's firmly put in his place, he decides to create his own film, writes the script, which immediately gets Sestero on board, and with money no object, buys all the equipment necessary and hires all the needed crew and players, he and Sestero taking the plum roles.
The film then follows a rather predictable path - scenes where lines are fluffed or forgotten, OTT acting, clumsy and non-intended actions, conflicts and arguments between characters both in front of and behind cameras - if it hadn't been based on what had really happened you could have guessed much of it anyway.
When the film is completed, well over schedule, it gets its first public airing - and the audience's reaction is.......well, you can guess that too.
The film contains fleeting appearances of a few equally-statured names as Franco J., though I did miss most of them. I was also particularly disappointed not to have recognised Megan Mullally as Sestero's mother, in just the one scene.
The film did raise in me a couple of glimmers of smiles, but no more than that. I think that not having been even aware of the original 'The Room' played against my ability to appreciate this particular film.
Incidentally, over the final credits there are parallel shots shown in split-screen, of scenes from the original 'The Room' and the equivalent scenes recreated for this film, showing the pain-staking attempt Franco has made to duplicate the original, and I have to say that he's done a remarkable job.
I didn't know James Franco already has such a full body of directing experience, and here his expertise is fully evident, particularly as he takes one of the two central roles as well.
I also wasn't aware of his brother, Dave, as being an actor, though I see that he too has quite a substantial history, and this will possibly be his most central part to date.
I'm not sure how well-known 'The Room' is outside the U.S.A. (or even to what extent it's known at all there!) but I think knowing about it beforehand would be a prerequisite to giving 'The Disaster Artist' some traction in order to enjoy it fully. As it was, despite having some mildly amusing moments, my overall feeling was that I ought to have been entertained more..................6.
1 hour ago