Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Minka Kelly, Leighton Meester, Cam Gigandet, Aly Michalka, Danneel Harris, Billy Zane, Nina Dobrev, Matt Lanter, Frances Fisher
Directed by Christian E. Christiansen
An early candidate for worst movie of 2011, that The Roommate is even playing in theaters at all instead of being shipped directly to the Wal-Mart $5 DVD bin is bewildering. I can only assume the studio believes that young adults are willing to plunk down their allowance money to watch a movie of which seemingly 90% of its cast consists of CW Network all-stars. I’d like to believe this incompetently executed drivel will even be rejected by its target demographic, the majority of whom were probably still a seed swimming around in their papa’s loins when Single White Female was released, the movie this failure borrows so heavily from it practically rips-off key scenes verbatim. The Roommate cribs so liberally from that superior 1992 thriller they should have just released this direct-to-DVD under the title Single White Female: The College Year.
I went into The Roommate figuring worst case scenario I’d get some campy laughs out of it like I did last year’s cheesy Fatal Attraction rip-off Obsessed. The Roommate is no Obsessed. It’s not even on par with The Crush. Suspense so low wattage it rarely so much as flickers, lifeless performers playing characters that give vapid a bad a name, yet director Christian E. Christiansen pushes forth determined to not let his film fall into the realm of trashy fun, a fatal mistake that only further exacerbating the tedium.
The Roommate boasts sex, phone sex, masturbation, shower scenes, lesbian seduction, murder, even animal cruelty, and none of it attempts to push the boundaries of the PG-13 rating. When one sequence intercuts between one female character having sex with her boyfriend and the other fingering herself while engaging in phone sex and all you ever see are close-ups of the women’s faces with the audio replaced with some insipid pop song, why bother including such salacious material at all?
Minka Kelly (“Friday Night Lights”) is small town girl Sara beginning college at the University of Los Angeles where she hopes to major in fashion design. Kelly’s two facial expressions consist of pouty and grinning cheerily, the latter seen more often than the former. Even when she’s having sex she has this happy-go-lucky smile that doesn’t strike me as the appropriate response while in the throws of passion. Lady, he’s not playfully tickling you.
Speaking of facial expressions, Cam Gigandet has one throughout the entire film that never ever changes: the smirk of a smarmy, self-satisfied frat boy. Granted he is playing a smarmy frat boy, but I think the movie actually wants us to like him and not long to see someone do something, anything, to wipe the smug look off his face.
Somehow the two of them instantly fall in love after their first meeting at a frat party where the douche practically admits his intentions that evening were to try and date rape her; at the very least get her so drunk she wouldn’t say no. Ah, modern romance.
1Leighton Meester of the CW Network’s “Gossip Girl”, looking like a poster girl for lip gloss, is Sara’s roommate, the soon-to-be-psycho Rebecca. At first coming across as a bit quirky and manipulative, it will eventually become apparent that Rebecca is dangerously unstable and hell-bent on keeping Sara as her own personal BFF forever. That means scaring off the slutty party girl Sara befriends in the dorm (Aly Michalka of the CW Network’s “Hellcats”), ridding Sara’s life of the ex-boyfriend (Matt Lanter of the CW Network’s “90210”) that won’t stop calling, preventing Sara’s lesbian fashionista friend (Danneel Harris of the CW Network’s “One Tree Hill”) from letting her move into her apartment, and dealing with Sara’s lecherous fashion design teacher (Billy Zane, thankfully not of any CW Network programming).
Oddly enough, the only person in Sara’s life Rebecca never really targets is Gigandet and you would think he would be her #1 target considering he’s the person occupying so much of her free time.
Belly rings are ripped off, kittens get tumble dried, groins gets kneed, lesbians gets tied up to beds in ways they will not enjoy sexually, and the most use of a boxcutter as a weapon outside of 9/11 hijacking: yawn-inducing at every conceivable turn.
The only lasting impression The Roommate left me with was to wonder whether the studio re-edited the film to hell. Entire subplots and characters are introduced and then forgotten about just as quickly. Almost everything that occurs during the last half hour between the time that Sara decides to move out and the climactic confrontation between the two ingénues occurs with such a sense of randomness it felt like it may very well have been edited together out of order. Just how many days are we expected to believe Sara’s lesbian friend spent tied to her bed?
1 out of 5
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