Best F(r)iends, Part 1 – Film Review

Best F(r)iends, Part 1 might be a carefully crafted, perfectly executed attempt to replicate the lightning-in-a-bottle that was The Room. It might also be another unintentionally hilarious trainwreck from disaster artists Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau. That this is only part one of a four hour epic only serves to complicate things — is Best F(r)iends the result of incredible hubris on the part of its creators, or a brilliant marketing ploy, ensuring all of Part 1’s guinea pigs return for Part 2 with additional friends in tow?

Best F(r)iends could have been so many things. I had half-expected something darkly serious, with director Justin MacGregor somehow wrangling Tommy Wiseau into a coherent performance. The only other option seemed to be that Best F(r)iends would try to be The Room 2, ultimately failing because you just can’t do something like The Room on purpose.

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Incredibly, Best F(r)iends goes for the third option, attempting to tell a serious story (and failing spectacularly), attempting to include callbacks to The Room (and failing spectacularly), and attempting to craft a character Wiseau was meant for (and still, failing spectacularly). Somehow, against all odds, Best F(r)iends manages to walk the exact line it needed to walk. It is more watchable than The Room, and it can be genuinely funny at times, but for the vast majority of its running time, this film is a brilliant mess.

The eponymous best friends are Jon (Greg Sestero), a homeless man wandering LA, and Harvey (Tommy Wiseau), a mortician with a suspicious past. The two meet by chance and Jon, desperate for money, asks Harvey if he can work for him. Soon Jon discovers that Harvey maintains a collection of gold teeth from all the bodies he works with. This prompts a scheme to sell them and soon the two develop a complicated friendship.

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The story reflects the real-world friction between Sestero and Wiseau, but turns the strangeness up to eleven. A lot of the film is surreal, with a dream-like quality that could almost be compared to David Lynch if it landed differently. Instead, it’s strange in a way that incites uncomfortable laughter and confusion. They’re clearly going for something here, mixing various filming techniques from one cut to the next, but is it an experimental mixed media pastiche, or an attempt to recreate the cinematic madness of The Room?

Theorycrafting the intentions behind Best F(r)iends is a fun exercise, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. The end result of whatever this team was going for is a weird, special, bad-funny, soon-to-be cult favorite with a spot alongside The Room. They did the impossible, and while it isn’t traditionally “good”, it’s an incredible accomplishment nevertheless. I can’t wait for Part 2.

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