Review / ‘The Disaster Artist’ (M) ***

AT the first Canberra screening of what the advance publicity was touting as a hilarious comedy about the worst movie ever made, I thought I was going to be the only viewer. Then seven young adults arrived and sat a few rows in front of me.

We were there to watch a movie about making a movie. In 1998, Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell met at acting class. Greg had ambition, no money and some talent. Tom had money, ambition and, in a kooky way, no apparent talent. They teamed up. They engaged agents. When roles were not forthcoming, they decided to make their own movie. It was called “The Room”. Its estimated production cost was $US6 million. At its first screening it grossed $US1800. No, I haven’t left out the zeros. “The Room” went on to become a cult movie that by mid-2012 had grossed more than $US9.6 million.

And those seven people sitting in front of me had come from Perth to see it, again. They laughed a lot. I laughed from time to time.

“The Disaster Artist” is the work of writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, assisted by the real Greg and Tommy. The director is James Franco who also plays Tommy. His brother Dave plays Greg. Seth Rogen plays Sandy, directing the inner movie. The very large cast includes such luminaries as Zac Efron, Sharon Stone and Melanie Griffith. As well as an agreeably meaty supporting role for Australia’s own Jacki Weaver.

The closing credits include comparison screens from both “The Room” and “The Disaster Artist”.

Against my natural inclination, I enjoyed “The Disaster Artist”. When it was over, I was grateful for the clarification of its provenance that I got from those other people.

At Palace Electric, Capitol 6 and Hoyts Belconnen

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