REVIEW: America Seriously Needs to Evict The Roommate
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.