Director: Christian E Christiansen
Stars: Minka Kelly, Leighton Meester and Cam Gigandet
Duration: 91 minutes
If you’ve seen the trailer, or the poster for that matter, you probably already know exactly what to expect from The Roommate. Even a quick glance at the title and your money’s probably on: ‘roommate who initially seems nice, turns out is not so nice’, right? Correct. While it would be silly to tear holes in this film as it’s probably intended as a fun piece of fluff, let’s do it anyway.
The Roommate begins the story with the protagonist Sara (Minka Kelly) starting her first day at college at UCLA fresh from some small American town, though looking more like she is straight off the catwalk. At this point we should probably assume she’s nervous or apprehensive as she doesn’t know a soul but if she is we get no visual clues. It’s almost as if Minka has forgotten to ‘act’, surely not? We needn’t worry long for her though as she makes instant best friends before even unpacking her bag and heads to a frat party where she gets an instant boyfriend, followed by instant acceptance, the next day, to a well sought after fashion class when the lecturer (Billy Zane) mistakes her blank expression and trilby hat for passion and style. This ain’t no spoiler though, this is just the first ten minutes. Apparently, when you look this good life’s very easy.
That’s until she meets her roommate Rebecca (Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meister). They become close before Rebecca’s obsessive and jealous behaviour rears it’s ugly head. Sara must soon face facts that her roommate’s leaning heavily towards the obsessive and unhinged category. Only she doesn’t so much face it as casually refer to it and seems less terrified and more just slightly miffed. Just wait for the big violent scene at the end Sara, that’ll learn ya.
This hopes to be a Single White Female sequel, or perhaps a take on the 1993 film The Crush, but it’s one where all the good writers, producers and actors have opted out, where dialogue is merely a plot device and where all original ideas go to die. Why do anything new when the formula is right there, ready for a battering. Films like; The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Fatal Attraction and aforementioned Single White Female set the bar high for this genre and then hordes of sub-standard rip-offs like this limbo in under it, leaving a sizable gap.
It feels like lazy film making. Sub-plots are left unfinished, motives weakly explained, such as the big one, why is Rebecca so crazy? That’s easy. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Better make her a fantastic artist too, repeatedly drawing pictures of her obsession. While you’re at it how about a homage to the great obsessive stalkers and psychopaths of film by the killing a bunny/horse/pet. What happens however, is rather than utilize the discovery of said dead animal for a gruesome and frightening scene, Sara just thinks it’s gone missing. Rebecca may as well have given the poor thing to an animal shelter. Director Christian E. Christiansen may blame the movie’s PG-13 rating on this but since when did that mean no fun altogether?
In its defence The Roommate is not the worst film of its kind. It makes for glossy and easy watching and the two leads are actually likable, particularly Leighton who does her best with the limited script. It’s just there’s nothing new to see here folks.