In directing and starring in The Disaster Artist, James Franco shows less conviction than his muse, Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau’s The Room—also directed by its star (as well as written, produced, and generally willed to life)—has become a cult movie phenomenon since its release in 2003, with regular midnight screenings where audiences laugh at its oddness and ineptitude. The Disaster Artist dramatizes the making of the movie, and while Franco is a dead ringer for Wiseau (not only the inexplicable accent, but also the way he “throws” a football), he’s less assured in negotiating the distance between the loaded terms in The Disaster Artist’s title. This is by no means a mean-spirited endeavor, something an awkward opening montage of real-life celebrity praise for The Room is at pains to make clear. Yet in recreating some of The Room’s most laughable elements (as well as giving Seth Rogen running commentary as a snarky script supervisor), The Disaster Artist can’t help but feel like piling on. At the same time, the movie bends over backwards in its finale, set during The Room‘s premiere, to frame Wiseau as a true artist whose singular creation succeeded in forming community. Let’s just say I found Wiseau’s anguished lead performance in The Room more convincing than the condescending hug offered by The Disaster Artist.