The Roommate Review
The Roommate is being called Single White Female for the Twilight generation. Single White Female was a cheesy 1990s stalker picture that many of my generation have not forgotten given its outlandish premise that somehow feels relatable. But there are more movies The Roommate appropriates than this one. It has shades of Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. Yet, the sum of ripping off three different movies does not equal a strong product; Takers taught us that last summer. Between the grade school play quality acting, slow buildup, and PG-13 watering down, The Roommate becomes unbearable company.
A college freshman, Sara (Minka Kelly, of Friday Night Lights fame), is randomly assigned to a dorm room with a stranger named Rebecca (Leighton Meester, of Gossip Girl fame). They start off as friends, but things turn dark as Sara learns she is Rebecca’s only friend and the girl is more than overprotective. Rebecca begins to obsess over Sara and starts hunting down anyone that competes with their budding relationship.
Minka Kelly, Leighton Meester, and Alyson Michalka are a distractingly pretty cast. Seriously, I found myself wondering how such a beautiful group of girls were chosen to create a story that is supposed to be semi-realistic. Every college campus should have so many models in its hallways. Obviously the choices are part of the Twitter generation and their following of shows like Gossip Girl and Friday Night Lights. It’s not like poor casting choices have ever been chalked up to quick cash grabs by studios looking to capitalize on marginal fame … Oh, yeah.
Despite this, credit is due for Meester’s portrayal of Rebecca. She is restrained, subtle and fragile in her depiction of the lunatic. With a proper script and director the young woman will find her way in this industry. Note that I did feel she was in every way outclassed in Country Strong. Yet in the presence of Minka Kelly, useless extras, Cam Gigandet and Matt Lanter, she is the shining star. With her washed-out hair and bloodied face, she cocks her head in such sorrow and amazement you forget for a second what a terrible waste of time and money you’ve spent venturing to the cinema.
And then it hits you like a brick again when in any climactic scene the editing is sanitized for tween eyes and not adult's. There is no catering to seasoned film fanatics who will regret the lack of scares, blood, or cheap thrills. The movie has no recognizable score nor does it ever get adventurous in camerawork or editing. It is all the banal, typical, inexpensive filmmaking typical of a low-budget appearance of an MTV original.
The Roommate is another cheap underachieving teensploitation flick. It has no originality, no tension, and little range. The cast is beautiful yet mostly unseasoned. What could have been a tongue-in-cheek thriller was in actuality a poor man’s knock off.
Directed by Christian E. Christiansen
Written by Sonny Mallhi
Starring: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, and Alyson Michalka