Blu-ray Review: The Disaster Artist

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: James Franco | CAST: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Josh Hutcherson, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron, Megan Mullally
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2018 | PRICE: DVD $21.63, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, gag reel
SPECS: R | 104 min. | Comedy drama | 2.39:1 widescreen | Dolby TrueHD 7.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

It was Steve Martin who insisted that “Comedy is not pretty,” and there could be no finer example of this adage than The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s (HBO’s The Deuce) hilarious inside survey of the making of The Room, a terrible 2003 film that has become a cult smash starring, written by and produced by mystery man Tommy Wiseau.

Based on the book by The Room’s co-star Greg Sestero, the film looks at the burgeoning bromance between Tommy and Greg, played by James’ real-life brother Dave Franco (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising). The two meet at a San Francisco acting class, where the long-haired, oddly accented Tommy proves to be an unpredictable character to whom Greg is drawn. When Tommy decides to make his own $6 million self-financed opus, serving as multi-hypehenate on a drama involving a menage-a-trois, the ever-ambitious Greg is enlisted to co-star with the enigmatic Tommy who keeps close tabs on him after they  move to Los Angeles.

Despite some guidance from a frustrated script supervisor (Seth Rogen, The Guilt Trip), Tommy pretty much handles everything himself—and quite ineptly. He also has a habit of showing up late to his own set, forgetting his lines and offering poor directing advice, but the film ultimately get done thanks to his self-confidence and despite his lack of social skills and artistic gifts.

Movie lovers—especially lovers of bad movies—will get a kick out The Disaster Artist, as it offers a string of “so-bizarre they’re true” incidents. In that respect, the picture may remind viewers of Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, another entertaining effort about a low-on-skill/high-on-himself filmmaker.

The Disaster Artist is chockful of laugh-out-loud funny and affecting moments as well as some attention-getting cameos from credited and uncredited performers. But the movie clicks because of the sometimes tumultuous friendship between Greg and Tommy, two people out to see their dreams realized at any cost necessary. James Franco is nothing short of hilariously riveting with his heavy metal hairdo, unidentifiable accent and unpredictable mannerisms.  Unfortunately, after unanimous praise and some year-end award consideration, Franco was faced with some sexual harassment accusations, derailing the possibility for an Oscar nomination.

Produced on a fairly tight budget by James Franco, Seth Rogen and others, the film took in $21 million at the box-office. The fairly specialized film opened wide in over 1,000 screens, and received a quick playoff in multiplexes. Home viewing will likely be the place where The Disaster Artist will draw enthusiastic fans who have cringed and laughed while watching The Room over and over again (at home and late-night theatrical screenings), worshipping the unique, er, talents of Tommy Wiseau and company.

Buy or Rent The Disaster Artist

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.