As with Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins, James Franco hits all the right wrong notes in this hugely entertaining, true-life tale of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 “disasterpiece” film The Room. Like Wiseau himself, Franco produces, directs and stars in his magnum opus, recreating the chaotic production of an unintentional comedy that has earned Rocky Horror-style cult status as “the greatest bad movie ever made”.
Dave Franco plays model/actor Greg Sestero, upon whose memoir (cowritten with Tom Bissell) the sharp screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber is based. We first meet Greg in San Francisco, 1998, sleepwalking through a stilted scene from Waiting for Godot. Enter Tommy (played by James, Dave’s older brother), a whirling dervish of dyed hair, questionable age and bizarre, consonant-obliterating accent (“Wha accenn?”). Part pirate, part vampire, Tommy turns a single word from A Streetcar Named Desire (“Stellaaaaarghh!”) into a piece of writhing performance art – terrible, yet fearless. Bewitched, Greg hitches his wagon to Tommy’s star and the pair move to LA, dreaming of greatness. But when “Hollywood reject us, we do it on our own” – and the mysteriously wealthy Wiseau decides to mount his own cinematic epic, to the bewilderment of script supervisor Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen) who wonders if Tommy has ever seen a movie, let alone made one.