REVIEW: America Seriously Needs to Evict The Roommate

Movieline Score: ½

After all of the trailers for movies featuring werewolves, a priest battling evil unleashed from the Stygian depths of some CGI master hard drive and Seth Rogen as an alien, the poor, mild-mannered scare picture The Roommate didn't stand a chance. Sensation exhaustion had set. Even the flirty-eyed Aly Michalka, laboring mightily to conceal the curly haired flair she displays on Hellcats, can't save the meekness that is Roommate. It's the kind of live-action sub-mediocrity that usually comes with 3-D glasses. And the only fear this movie will inspire is when you realize the goggles being passed out at the ticket counter are for the far luckier patrons of Sanctum.

Roommate is one of those movies in which almost everyone is trying to do something different, break out of the safety of the TV roles we've come to love them for -- and probably a day or so into shooting, the actors realize that they seize more emotion, intelligence and perversity in, oh, an episode of Gossip Girl that this film can ever hope to offer. Indeed, Gossip Girl hood ornament Leighton Meester is Rebecca, the titular object, whose eagerness to please Sara (Minka Kelly), her equally willowy new roommate, just screams danger. Well, this movie doesn't scream anything, except that the cast was too young to ever have seen Single White Female or the dozens of ripoffs that have come in its wake -- many of which were probably produced by the very studio that made this one.

One by one, Rebecca dispatches the impediments to her one-on-one time with Sara, including Billy Zane as a straight fashion design instructor who thinks he's on Project Runway. But not in a way that anyone would find remotely upsetting -- the film has to maintain its cautious PG-13 rating, ensuring timorousness unrelieved by the ability to even satirize the bloodless goings-on. In the theater where I saw it, the tedium was broken only by the sound of Angry Birds being played on iPhones.

By the time former The O.C. resident Cam Gigandet and Danneel Harris of One Tree Hill appear, The Roommate stops looking like a movie and turns into a support group; actors desperate to shed their small-screen pasts. At least Harris doesn't have to play a college student -- Kelly and Gigandet look more like teaching assistants -- although by the time it winds down to its inevitable finish, The Roommate has notched an unbelievable achievement; it makes the second rate One Tree Hill seems like it was about something.



Comments

  • The Winchester says:

    You almost had me convinced to wait the two months before this shows up on video.
    Then you typed "Billy Zane", which instantly bumped this up to "Must See Now!"

  • Martini Shark says:

    So you have a group of marginal TV players looking to crack into the film industry, then Billy Zane arrives, probably so he could pull the actors aside and convince them to cast him in their shows.

  • Glad I dodged that bullet! Seriously though, I love the review. Sorry you had to sit through it to deliver it to us.

  • waynebeau says:

    What a bitchy review...exactly as expected from the film snob "expert".
    It isn't art, never pretends to be art...BUT...it was exactly what it intended to be and I enjoyed it. So there...

  • Tao Lin Gaijin says:

    Elvis, I get that you didn't like the movie, but you are truly an awful writer. I realize that journalism is dying, but there's no need for you to hold a pillow over its face.

  • Kiki says:

    I loved your review - just another proof that the art of making original, interesting films is dying, not journalism.

  • Luke says:

    Admittedly, The Roommate looks dull and is PG-13 horror/thriller psycho stuff, but I think in this day and age, critics will rip a film to shreds for being just that. Prom Night was crucified-- when in actuality, it wasn't half bad. These films weren't made to please critics or to cater to the 'cinema is art' crowd. I'm in Film School atm, so I know how to admire a great film, but I also know how to relax and enjoy a movie just for its purpose. Besides that, your review didn't really contain anything of substance... you ripped the film apart from a point of view of someone with incredible bias after watching the trailer... no specifics, no critiques other than the cast was either too old, or trying to break out of a mold that people put them in...
    Let me ask you, what do you expect Leighton Meester, etc to do after their series? They've got to expand themselves while sticking to their demographic. The cast are trying to expand, but how can they when a critics will reduce their roles to a desperancy to break a mold?
    Next time you bag out a movie and give it 0.5, at least give us actual evidence or substance. If you want to judge all kinds of films (art and commercial, etc) then actually give substance in the commercial reviews as well- or don't do them at all.
    When The Roommate comes out in Australia in a month or so, I'll be checking in with a bunch of friends on opening weekend.

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