On the surface, this seems like a terrible idea. James Franco directing and starring in what is essentially an homage to what is arguably the worst film ever made. Let that sink in for a minute.

“The Disaster Artist” is part sequel, part remake and part behind-the-scenes backstory to the 2003 cult classic “The Room.” Oddly endearing, and absolutely nonsensical if you haven’t seen the latter, it is difficult to determine until the very ending if we are laughing with, or at the original. “The Room” was written, directed, produced, and starred Tommy Wiseau. He’s a man with mysterious origins (he claims New Orleans, but Transylvania would be a better guess) and financial resources (the film cost $6 million, which he paid for single-handedly), who created a disjointed farce of a film that has gone on to turn a profit through word-of-mouth, self-promoted DVD sales and midnight showings, a la “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

To attempt to describe the plot or characters of “The Room” would be more confusing than watching it, and far less entertaining, so let me just break it down like this; Tommy plays Johnny, a man who can’t throw a football, spews dialogue like Rocky after a fight, and has a love scene that shamelessly highlights the wrong gender’s umm… assets. The plot? There isn’t really one.

James Franco offers a wildly accurate glimpse inside the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, whose persona is straight out of fiction. An unlikely project, Franco was clearly drawn to the unique, nonconformist attitude that Wiseau so deftly displays. His depiction of the man is hilarious and tragic. There is emotion deeply rooted in him, and as the film goes on and you get to know his passions, you come to respect his innocence; he’s really just looking for someone to love him.

Dave Franco plays Tommy Wiseau’s counterpart, aspiring actor Greg Sestero (author of the book that inspired this film) in a heartfelt, but somewhat shallow performance. The head-scratching relationship between Greg and Tommy sparks the birth of “The Room” in the first place and is made all the more complex seeing real-life brothers on screen together playing two vastly different characters. It’s all very metacognitive. Thankfully the source material is vapid and easy to follow, and if you just enjoy it for what it is, you are truly in for a very entertaining experience.

Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (a variety of teen dramas), there is a nice blend of character development as well as scene recreations. An all-star cast assembles to take on even minor roles, notably Zac Efron, Seth Rogen and Josh Hutcherson. The dialogue is all pointed toward the ostentatious nature of Tommy Wiseau, and it’s as if he’s from another planet and everyone around him is simply marveling at his absurdity.

The film is essentially a sequel of redemption for Wiseau. A laughing stock in Hollywood for years, this film gives him exactly what he was seeking in the first place — fame and credibility. It may not be of the precise nature he envisioned, but as an entertainer, I think there is a respectful nod given by “The Disaster Artist” validating his contributions and establishing a legacy, albeit a mockery, in the industry.

Franco is free to explore his most outrageous self in this performance, and it is truly a pleasure every step of the way. What may seem overacting is actually spot on, and he may very well see his name come up on awards nominations short lists. The film isn’t spectacular, but it is a riot. Just don’t see it without viewing “The Room” first, otherwise it will baffle you.