The Room (2003) is directed and produced by Tommy Wiseau, who also plays the main character, Johnny. If we saw anything from Freddy Got Fingered (2001), it is that you should never, in good conscience, entrust a man to take full charge of a movie. The rest of the main cast, in order from best to worst, goes as follows: Juliette Daniel (Lisa), Carolyn Minnott (Claudette), Greg Sestero (Mark), and Philip Haldiman (Denny).
We are first introduced to Johnny, a successful banker, a man who is loved by all, and the future husband of his wife Lisa. Their relationship is characterized by intese lovemaking, which they do at the start of the movie. Later, as Johnny goes off to work (Lisa relies entirely on Johnny for finance), Lisa meets her mother, Claudette, and confides to her that she no longer loves Johnny. Later, Lisa has an affair with Mark, Johnny’s best friend. Johnny comes back, disappointed after not receiving a promotion. Lisa coaxes some hard liquor into him, then tells everyone that he abused her in a drunken rage.
In the second act, we are given several subplots that start randomly and lead nowhere: Claudette casually reports that she has breast cancer; Denny, who is essentially an adopted son to Johnny, and who likes to visit Johnny and Lisa when they make love, is attacked by a drug dealer, who Johnny stops and is taken into police custody; Mike and Michelle, friends of Johnny, break into his house and make love; Mark, fed up with Lisa’s constant badgering him for sex, tries to pick up other girls; Mark accidentally injures Mike; Denny lusts after Lisa. Once Johnny discovers this, rather than showing even the slightest anger, dismisses it, then gives Denny a deep speech about the benefits of everyone loving each other. If you have even the slightest care about these characters, then just note: no one’s issue is resolved, nor does anyone mention it at all.
After several more scenes of Johnny buying Lisa lavish gifts, Lisa cheating on Johnny with Mark, then complaining about Johnny to her mother, then praising Johnny, and footballs being chucked around, does the film continue on with the plot. Johnny realizes Lisa’s infidelity and records all conversations in the house. The movie then reaches the climax: Johnny’s birthday is coming up. Johnny reveals his discovery, fights Mark, instantly forgives Mark, fights him again, scares off all of his guests, locks himself into the bathroom, finally walks out, berates Lisa, then kills himself.
And finally does the movie commit the most atrocious crime of them all: Mark, Lisa, and Denny enter and cry upon Johnny’s lifeless body, despite the earlier fight. Mark kisses Johnny’s forehead, calls Lisa a tramp, then leaves. Thus, the film ends with no justice being done for Johnny, no payback scene where Lisa finally gets what’s coming to her… none of that.
The Room‘s pacing is outright atrocious; each lovemaking scene (there are about five of them) each eat up about five minutes, and while that may not seem like much, you would be quite surprised upon actually watching it. The conversations themselves are also quite tedious, but there is no tension or emotion. Furthermore, there are so many pointless scenes, like the ones where Johnny and Mark chuck footballs around.
Tommy Wiseau himself has the odd tendency to laugh after just about everything, including this one scene where Mark tells Johnny about a woman who was abused after her infidelity was revealed. And on the topic of acting, each actor has his/her own quirks. Wiseau himself looks incredibly bored during several scenes. His line deliver is either rapid-fire, like in the bouquet shop, or slow as a snail. He has this hilarious habit of over-exaggerating cadences in words (“I am FED UUPPP with this world!” or “You look EXXXcellent”).
Philip Haldiman’s facial expression is monotonous, but there is this one scene where he pretends to act panicked and regretful, delivering one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history: “Stop ganging up on me!” Greg Sestero must be a deep-thinking philosopher, because everytime he isn’t mumbling through lines, he stares deeply into space, and broods and broods. Carolyn Minnott clearly has not the faintest inkling about how people react upon discovering their bearing life-ending diseases. Juliette Daniel has the most irritating habit of looking down after every conversation, generally when the other character gives her some sensible advice, and muttering, “I don’t wanna talk about it”, or “Listen, I have to go now”.
I could repeat every single little problem I had with this film, but that would be wasting time. Because ultimately…, I loved this film. Never have I seen a film so astoundingly inept that it falls flat in the most gut-wrenchingly comedic way possible. Had Wiseau merely cut out the sex scenes and shortened the film, this would be the perfect good-bad film. In the end, The Room serves two purposes: it shows what to never do when crafting a film, as well as the keys to making a fantastic so-bad-its-good film. Do I recommend it? Yes Yes Yes.