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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.18%
Worth A Look: 18.18%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap63.64%

1 review, 5 user ratings

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Room, The (2003)
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by MP Bartley

"Everything you've heard is true."
1 stars

Plan 9 From Outer Space. Batman and Robin. Bad Boys II. All bow down to the utter awfulness that is The Room.

The Room is the brainchild of writer, producer, director and star Tommy Wiseau. Starting life as a play, before Wisea raised the millions necessary to develop it as a film, it initially sank without trace after a brief run in LA. However, over time it has developed a cult reputation with appreciative audiences who have found enormous hilarity in its unremitting, disastrous performances, dialogue and production values (fans include such people as Edgar Wright) and it is now not uncommon to find midnight screenings of the film, akin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show where the audience yells out their favourite lines, throw footballs around the theatre (it's a favourite preoccupation of the male characters) and throw plastic spoons at the screen (you'll have to watch it to understand why). Whether it's how he intended it or not, Wiseau has found himself with a bona fide cult phenomenon on his hands.

Johnny (Wiseau) is a good guy with seemingly everything. Loving family and friends, a good job at a bank and a girlfriend, Lisa (Juliette Danielle) who he adores. Lisa doesn't adore him, however. Oh no, she instead is having a lusty affair with his best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero). It's a complicated triangle that Johnny exists in, and add to this a terminal disease, a drug debt and an upcoming birthday and who knows where this crazy ride will end?

The question is where to possibly start without simply listing everything that is awful about The Room. The production values, all soft focus and an ugly hybrid of jazz and rock on the soundtrack, are an unholy cross between a daytime soap and the kind of softcore erotica that pops up on late night channels that tries to titillate without actually showing anything. The supporting performances redefine wooden and make the casts of the aforementioned daytime soap operas look like a Shakesperean production starring Olivier, Branagh and Welles and the numerous love scenes actually resort to the cliche of naked bodies being stroked with roses while lovers writhe behind billowing silk curtains. There's the fact that the actors stand and sit around in every scene with an awkward gait as if it's the most unnaturalistic thing they've ever done and the numerous scenes of Johnny and pals throwing a football around and whooping in joy, are so ungainly you'd be forgiven for thinking they're throwing a live chicken around. Never have five men looked so uncomfortable playing sports together.

And then there's the dialogue, one of the principal reasons that The Room has achieved so much notoriety. Clunky, awkward, disjointed - no words can do justice how awful the dialogue is and how ludicrous it sounds falling out of the actors' mouthes. You probably know the infamous breast cancer line. You've quite possibly heard the almighty "how's your sex life?" question being repeated at parties and no doubt you'll have heard many impressions of the "Lisa, you're my future wife" meme, as Johnny insists upon reminding Lisa at every opportunity. Let's just say that it makes Ed Wood's dialogue seem sharp, precise and witty.

But let's reserve a special paragraph for the monumental central performance of Wiseau. With lank hair, jutting brow and a lumbering walk that makes him look like a primate, he has a voice that (and I'll admit I'm not the first to say this) is like Christopher Walken channelling Borat and without fail it mangles every single line that he gives himself. Whether it's his nervous chuckle that's like the worst laughter track you can imagine, his memorable way of greeting people ("Oh, hai, Denny...") or his anguished cry of "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!" it's the bad movie version of Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Hilariously, Wiseau is under the impression that Johnny must be the single most angelic, flawless individual that has ever existed and thus every other character stands around at some points to extoll his many saintly virtues, despite the fact his performance is reminiscent of the weirdo that turns up uninvited at parties that everyone avoids until he leaves after stealing some toilet utensils.

Yes, The Room is a veritable tsunami of shit, a perfect storm of abominable writing, direction and acting clashing with the pretentious ambitions of its auteur, a yawning, stinking black hole of awfulness that makes the combined works of Bay, Schumacher and Ratner look Kubrick-esque in comparison. You would suspect it's some kind of joke, like an extended sketch about bad television, if Wiseau wasn't so pompously serious about it all.

Look, it's completely understandable why The Room has got such a cult following. It's awfulness is unique, Wiseau's performance one that has to be seen to be believed (his chicken impression is...interesting) and it is simply mind boggling as to where the rumoured $6m budget went. But is it a "so-bad-it's-good" experience? Not really. See it once because you really SHOULD see it (to be in with the cultural memes its generated, if nothing else) but you could YouTube the best bits and reduce the 100 minute running time to a much more merciful five instead.

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originally posted: 11/05/11 23:44:40
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User Comments

2/19/14 dr.lao Heard it was "so bad it was good." It wasn't. It was just plain bad 1 stars
6/04/12 Dane Youssef Truly one of the most laughably bad, mishandled, gleefully awful flicks ever there was. 4 stars
9/25/11 Jaycee So breathtaking in its horribleness that it ends up being a masterpiece. 5 stars
3/15/11 Quigley The worst film ever made. Also one of the funniest; has to be seen to be believed 5 stars
7/29/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess I can't tell if this is a great comedy or an awful drama. Either way, it's funny as hell. 4 stars
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  05-Mar-2005 (R)
  DVD: 17-Dec-2005



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