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Made by a fa­mously flighty di­rec­tor-star and tak­ing its in­spi­ra­tion from one of the worst movies of all-time, “The Dis­as­ter Artist” could have been a dis­as­ter it­self.

It is any­thing but. “The Dis­as­ter Artist” is a sweet, emo­tion­ally en­gag­ing trib­ute to friend­ship, the movies and the im­por­tance of dreams. In telling the story of how Tommy Wiseau made the 2003 cin­e­matic calamity “The Room,” James Franco — a bit of a dis­as­ter artist him­self — con­nects with a char­ac­ter on screen like he never has be­fore, and lets us see how Wiseau went from Hol­ly­wood no­body to cult legend.

Ah, Tommy Wiseau. If you don’t know the man be­hind the blacked out shades who made tuxedo foot­ball a mid­night movie phe­nom­e­non, it helps to have a work­ing knowl­edge of him and “The Room” be­fore tak­ing in “The Dis­as­ter Artist.” You may have heard of “The Room” or watched a few clips from the movie on YouTube, and you can cer­tainly en­joy the ab­sur­dity of “The Dis­as­ter Artist” with­out hav­ing seen the orig­i­nal film. But know­ing about Lisa’s dress, Chris-R and the hos­pi­tal on Guer­rero Street cer­tainly deep­ens one’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion for “The Dis­as­ter Artist,” and if you haven’t seen “The Room” be­fore you see it, you’re go­ing to want to watch it af­ter.

Franco plays Wiseau, the self-styled enigma whose ori­gin, age and in­come source re­main a Hol­ly­wood mys­tery. When we first meet him he’s in act­ing class in

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Justina Mintz San Fran­cisco, lit­er­ally climb­ing the walls in an over-thetop per­for­mance. He speaks a lan­guid form of bro­ken English that sounds like he has quick­sand in his throat, and his dialect has no trace­able source. All of these things, cou­pled with his look — part 19th cen­tury vam­pire, part re­jected ro­mance novel cover model and part ticket scalper — make him a loner. When Greg (Dave

/ AP

Dave Franco as Greg, left, and James Franco as Tommy, watch the pre­miere of “The Room” in “The Dis­as­ter Artist.”

Tommy Wiseau, left, and co­me­dian and ac­tor Mark Atkin­son at­tend a “The Dis­as­ter Artist” event.


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