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Room, The (2003)

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Score: 4/10

Genre: Drama Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.

Release Date: June 27th, 2003 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Tommy Wiseau Actors: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle, Phillip Haldiman, Carolyn Minnot, Robyn Paris, Mike Scott, Dan Janjigian, Kyle Vogt, Greg Ellery

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alifornian banker Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) comes home to his fiancee Lisa (Juliette Danielle), bearing the new gift of a beautiful red dress. As the two of them hurry upstairs to start fooling around (it’s implied that they’ll have sex, but they start with a light pillow fight), college student Denny (Phillip Haldiman) tries to join them, claiming he just likes to watch. This young adult appears to be a neighbor, but he could also be a sibling; either way, there’s something peculiarly incestuous about the role. After getting Denny to go to his room to do some homework, Johnny and Lisa begin a protracted lovemaking session that goes on into the night.

The following morning, Lisa’s mother (Carolyn Minnot) stops by to convince her daughter that she should follow through with marriage, even though the young woman is no longer in love with Johnny. In fact, she’s downright bored of him. But he has provided financial support and his career is stable – and he’s even talked about buying her a house. Of course, this kind of coercion only causes Lisa to dislike Johnny more – and push her into the arms of another lover, Mark (Greg Sestero), who happens to be Johnny’s best friend. “I need you to make love to me.”

“The Room” is constructed and approached very much like a spoof of something, yet the actors are attempting to take the story seriously. Surely there’s a self-awareness in the silliness of the characters’ conversations and interactions; and yet, somehow, there’s also an earnestness in its design. When the second sex scene appears, mere minutes after the first, the picture seems to be a made-for-television softcore venture, which makes the dramatic notes less significant. Perhaps the plot and dialogue are simply segues to get to the next sequence of partial nudity, awkward moaning, and unconvincing groping.

If “The Room” was a parody of porn, which can itself be a parody of real movies, it could be considered insightful. But everything here is steeped in mediocrity … or worse. The music is laughable (Wayman Davis and Kitra Williams’ songs are ludicrously unreal in their shoddiness), the cinematography is bland, the writing is atrocious, the sound effects are goofy, and the performances are extremely amateurish (to the point that “The Room” is surely everyone’s acting debuts, made more obnoxious by exaggerated expressions and overreactions). “Why are you so hysterical?” Additionally, the melodrama is unrealistic, Wiseau’s speeches sound dubbed (he seems to have difficulty delivering lines in general, and has an accent that resembles a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan but with a recurring, senseless little chuckle), and the scene transitions and various discussions are terribly incongruous (shifting between topics with such roughness that they might as well be from different films). For some reason, greetings and acknowledgements are especially unnatural, as if the cast doesn’t fully grasp the English language or standard social situations. And since the project is written, produced, and directed by (and starring) Tommy Wiseau, he’s the person to blame.

“People are very strange these days.” Despite lengthy sex scenes in which Johnny thrusts so high up onto Lisa’s torso that he must be finding resistance from her sternum, repetitive verbal exchanges, bizarre games of close-quarters catch with a football, even odder assaults (as if by accident, yet the camera keeps rolling), and pitiful entrapment schemes, it’s the gentle razzing with baby chicken squawks that might be the most ridiculous inclusion of them all. Although “The Room” borders on tedious inadequacies, it steadily grows more outrageous in its awfulness, generating countless laugh-out-loud moments. Frequently, it appears as if these characters are unfamiliar with how to portray normal emotions, or are directed to act insincerely; affection and angry outbursts are equally artificial and freakish.

It’s an exceptionally terrible film; an absolute trainwreck. But at least it’s funny. A distinct lack of humanness and realism permeates every confabulation and every relationship, as if the script was intended for an alien species; the world in which “The Room” operates is certainly unlike that of any traditional, contemporary, independent picture. If only this was all done on purpose, it might have been a supremely clever comedy; but, alas, it’s mostly just pitiful nonsense. ”Wake up, man! What planet are you from?”

– Mike Massie

 

 



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