How are you actually supposed to review something like this?
“Best F(r)iends” stars Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, 15 years after the pair made the so-bad-it’s-perfect cult classic “The Room.” The film follows a drifter in Los Angeles who begins to work for a mortician, only to start selling gold teeth on the black market. Justin MacGregor directs (and produces and edits and shoots).
I love “The Room.” As I wrote in my review of James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” I have been part of its midnight cinema viewings for a while and think that it is a masterpiece that will never be replicated in its sheer ineptitude and unintentional hilariosity. Clearly with this reunion, Wiseau and Sestero were trying to capture lightning in a bottle once more (Sestero was inspired to write the script after seeing early screenings of “The Disaster Artist”) and occasionally the pair does give some of the laughs and awful-acting charm that has turned “The Room” into a legend; unfortunately it just isn’t often enough.
Look, this movie knows it’s awful and (I think?) makes no genuine attempts to be anything else. Sestero clearly is just making this for a paycheck, to get some limelight and as a gesture of good will towards Wiseau (the only person here who may not be in on the joke but doesn’t need the paycheck).
The performances here are clearly all awful, ranging from over-acted to just lacking any sort of direction. Wiseau doesn’t seem to need to dub any of his lines this time around like he did in “The Room” and Sestero is one-note as a homeless drifter. Some side characters are fun because they’re clearly enjoying their “big break” in a Hollywood film (generous terms) while others (like Paul Sheer of “The League” and ironically “The Disaster Artist”) ham it up.
The script has some gems that made my audience laugh-out-loud, like Wiseau asking Sestero why “he’s standing there looking like a Statue of Liberty” but there aren’t any lines like this that will go down in history like Wiseau’s “you’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” The plot is all over the place and the final 15 minutes of the film (which is set to be Part 1 of 2, a la “Kill Bill”) is just stupid and incoherent. My friend and I began to try and break down what happened, but gave up when we realized the filmmakers themselves have no idea so why waste our brain cells?
One of the most baffling aspects of the film is the color palette and lighting because it seemingly changes every scene. Sometimes lampooning the red grainy tint of 2003’s “The Room” and other times a very bright white/blue, I have to imagine that director/cinematographer Justin MacGregor was trying to parody the brilliance of “Moonlight” and “Steve Jobs” where each act features a different style or film-grade to represent changing time and tone, but it just turns out ugly. I also am clearly giving this way more thought than he clearly did, so let’s move on.
There is one (completely pointless and out-of-place) section where the duo drives to Las Vegas and the entire montage is overlaid by a blaring and distorted music that is made me go deaf. I have no idea who mixed that scenes but it would have gotten an instant F in any film class.
Look it is near-impossible to review a film like “Best F(r)iends,” if you can call it a film at all. It is trying to act as a spiritual successor to “The Room” and give the millions of ironic fans of that film something new to love-to-hate and it never captures that film’s bizarre energy and unintended humor, but I still think you have to see it if you enjoy watching “The Room.”
Maybe in 1,000 years when aliens have wiped us out and they discover a copy of this film they will think it’s a masterpiece that was far ahead of its time. Or maybe Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero should just never be allowed near a camera again. It’s not up to me to decide.
Critic’s Grade: D