The movie the Roommate was not the best start to 2011. I wanted this to be mindless, dumb entertainment, as an awesome relaxer for the weeks directly following Oscar season. Unfortunately, there’s "so bad it’s good", and there’s "so bad it’s bad". This falls in the latter. In fact, it surpasses the bad spectrum, plowing through the "so bad it’s good" sector, and resting it’s boring brainless cranium solidly back in "bad". The film follows Sara (Minka Kelly) who has started her freshman year at college, studying fashion. From the starting gate, the problems arise. For instance, Kelly is playing an 18-19 year old, when in reality she is clearly at least 30. But bigger and better horror movies have always made this casting decision (Scream for example) deciding to pick attractiveness over authenticity for the sake of exploitation. If Minka Kelly is anything, she is very attractive. Her roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester, also clearly older than 18-19) moves in with her and the shenanigans commence. We quickly discover that smelling burning rubber is more interesting than anything the film offers.
Rebecca’s first stroke of weird, as noticed by the main character, is when she likes art. That’s right, Rebecca analyzes a painting, and our main character reacts as if she is a complete freak. Instead of noticing Rebecca’s progressively intense desire to cling, she discovers the first layer of crazy through love of art. Later we learn Rebecca has bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. Does this diagnosis explain why Rebecca has a morbid obsession with her roomie? No, not at all. But no one behind the scenes seemed to notice or care about the script, just like the audience does not care about any character in the film.So after we discover that people who appreciate fine art are freaks and that Sara’s fashion design is true art, things happen and relationships form, and the audience still doesn’t care. In a frat party scene, a love interest is introduced as the squinty eyed Steven (Cam Gigandet) playing the drums and being hot. Of course, he clearly has never touch drums before, and is visually playing the opposite of what we hear. Insignificant, I know, but so is this movie to anything.
Some of the smaller actors were laughably bad, though they were not consistently atrocious enough to keep the film remotely entertaining. Even the small appearance of Billy Zane as the overtly sexual art teacher cliché cannot reanimate this dead corpse of a movie.
Not to say the lead performances (Meester, Kelly, Gigandet) were abominable, because they weren’t. The contrived, poorly scripted screenplay combined with flat directing just gave the film an aura of the lackadaisical. With all that behind the camera, the cast itself can only do so much. Not that they tried to redeem things anyway. Meester had moments where instead of looking creepy, she appeared as if she was about to sack a quarterback. The lead performances were the least of concerns.
The Roommate is essentially a remake of Single White Female, spoonfed for the college crowd demographic, except devoid of all the interesting psychological analysis, characterization, tension, and just anything that makes a horror/thriller good. After a ripped belly button ring, a dryer fried kitten, and nothing else worth mentioning, you realize this tensionless, suspense-less bore was a waste of time, not even worth looking at the hot young cast, who aren’t even exploited for being hot. In the end, Sara pulls Rebecca’s former bed from their dorm, claiming that she does not want a roommate for a while (because you can just do that). Fortunately, you can remove this movie from public display by moving it outside and putting it through a wood chipper. The movie The Roommate is throw away filmmaking at its most disposable.