At one point in this zany retelling of the worst film in the world, The Room by man of mystery Tommy Wiseau (James Franco, who also directs), a peeved script supervisor in the shape of Seth Rogen says something along the lines of: “Let’s go to a bar and erase all memory of today.” Which is a pretty accurate description of my post-match analysis of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s screenplay which is itself based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Wiseau’s co-star Greg “Baby Face” Sestero (Dave Franco whose radiant smile more than lives up to his character’s nickname).
To be clear, James Franco’s performance is a hoot: his accent a cross between Charlie Chan and Count Dracula; his physicality the bastard child of Ozzie Osbourne and a zombie from Night of the Living Dead; his age a movable feast identical to whoever is standing before him; and the financial backing for his six million dollar vanity project shrouded in mystery. And it’s obvious that he and his brothers Dave and Tom, not to mention a conveyor belt of A-listers in small cameo roles (Bryan Cranston, Judd Apatow and Zac Efron to name but three) are having a hoot. But for the audience, the hoot-o-meter rarely strays from titter to belly laugh.
A number of reasons why, I think. The performances though funny are mainly skin deep. The inner world of the characters remain under lock and key. Greg’s friendship with Tommy is cemented too soon, any doubts he has are conveniently parked. Quite why none of the technicians working on The Room walk is beyond me. And the constant re-takes due to Tommy’s shortcomings as an actor, though initially funny, start to become repetitive. Far from disastrous, always charming and at times moving, but as a Hollywood producer remarks after being rudely interrupted at the dinner table: “Just because you want it, doesn’t mean it can happen.”
Video courtesy of: A24