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The Room

USA 2003
Directed by
Tommy Wiseau
99 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

The Room

Synopsis: Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is some kind of  business dude whose girlfriend Lisa (Juliette Danielle) unbeknownst to him is giving her favours to his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). Meanwhile Denny (Philip Haldiman), a teenage friend of Johnny’s hangs around and …look, who really cares?

Imagine 3 extra-bad episodes of Days Of Our Lives back to back and you’ve got a reasonable idea of what The Room is like. Probably the most interesting thing about the film is that actor/writer/director/producer Tommy Wiseau appears to be entirely serious about the merits of his opus. I say “appears” because it is hard to believe that anyone could actually take seriously what is so incontrovertibly awful. Then again, who in their right mind would spend millions of dollars maintaining a billboard over Sunset Boulevard for five years to promote said awfulness (where did the evidently low rent Wiseau get the money, one wonders) . Either way, The Room has acquired cult status as an exemplar of the so-bad-it’s-good breed of cinema fiasco . Personally I believe that Wiseau (if that is his real name) has pulled a gigantic hoax. This film is simply too bad to be plausible as a serious effort gone wrong. Clearly there is no end of suckers out there .looking to share their collective gullibility.

Given that the film is enthusiastically attended by audiences who know the film as intimately as their genitalia, in this respect comparisons have been made with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Blues Brothers. This claim is bogus. Firstly, both those films were excellent in their own right. Secondly, the audiences who attended the screenings revered them and as a result actually reinforced the film’s merits. The difference with The Room is that it is, intentionally or not, badly-made and the audience are there to deride it. And given that only idiots would spend money to hurl imprecations at images flickering on a screen, this makes for a tiresome experience.(the real precursors of Wiseau's film can be found in the Paul Morrissey/Andy Warhol Factory films of the late 1960s and early 1970's like Heat (1972) but these were upfront about their agenda whereas Wiseau is, one suspects, being disingenuous).

Never having seen the film before I attended a screening at The Nova Cinema, whatever pleasures The Room might have afforded were completely lost in the continual baying of the crowd. The dialogue may have been deliciously awful but one simply could not hear it. And making matters worst, none of the imprecations that instead one could hear demonstrated a glimmer of wit.  Half-starved chimpanzees attacking the carcass of one of their own would probably be more entertaining.

If you like going to football matches and hurling maledictions at the bumblings of the players, a theatre-screening of The Room might reward you. If not and you are still curious I’d advise seeing the film in peace and quiet or perhaps with couple of friends and some recreational drugs of choice.




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