Unreal Movie Review: The Roommate

College is a scary place. Trying to fit in among thousands of people. Grades that actually directly impact your future. Community showers. But all of this can be instantly made better (or worse) by your roommate. You can have someone who brings you out of your shell, helps you study AND has extra shower sandals, or you can have someone who develops a psychotic crush on you. The former wouldn’t have made for a very exciting movie.

But frankly, the latter doesn’t either, and at its core The Roommate is about a girl being weird, and by the end as carnage and mayhem spew across the screen, you’ll find yourself saying “well that escalated rather quickly.”

Minka Kelly is Sara, the normal one, and Leighton Meester is Rebecca, the bonkers one. The two currently fill the cute brunette quotient on Friday Night Lights and Gossip Girl respectively, and apparently are looking to breakout into film. The two look incredibly similar, so much so that if they hadn’t dyed Meester’s hair, it would be rather hard to tell them apart. The similar look is used for effect in one scene near the end, but I’m not sure it was worth casting actresses who look so much like twins that it’s distracting.

They should have given one an eyepatch to make it easier.

Sara is friendly toward Rebecca, and the two actually become quite good friends. Problem is, Rebecca is a wee bit possessive, and as Sara starts hanging out with other friends, her new boyfriend (Cam Gigandet) or even a kitten, a jealous rage takes over and bad things start to happen. Even to the kitten.

The severity of Rebecca’s outbursts veer wildly all over the map throughout the film. At first it’s subtle things, like buying a poster of Sara’s favorite movie to hang in her room. I particularly liked a clever moment early on where Sara gives Rebecca an outfit to wear (she’s an up and coming fashion designer) complete with matching earrings. In her desperation to please, Rebecca ignores the fact that her ears aren’t actually pierced and jams them through anyway.

After that, things get a little more loony. Rebecca attacks another girl in the hall who she deems Sara’s “slutty” friend. Despite having her belly ring ripped out, the girl simply transfers to another dorm and keeps her mouth shut. Later, Sara confides that her fashion prof tried to kiss her, and Rebecca goes to his office hours and pretends to be raped by him on an audio recording, getting him fired. Almost admirable balls that time.

Sadly the film then jumps off a cliff of crazy and Rebecca starts kidnapping, stabbing and worst of all kitten killing, making her beyond any sort of redemption. It takes a very large amount of time to notice something is seriously wrong with Rebecca, and in the meanwhile the film is just us witnessing her being exceptionally creepy.

Lighten up! Who killed *your* cat?

It’s not scary, and actually any time Rebecca makes her dead-eyed stalker face while watching someone from afar, the audience I was with burst out laughing at the absurd caricature of a creepy stalker she portrays. I did appreciate there was at least a little bit of backstory thrown in for her character, but there’s just nothing all that interesting featured here. No great mysteries to solve, just a mental disorder and some nasty side effects.

The movie is getting thrashed in reviews, receiving some of the worst scores I’ve seen in these dismal winter months. It’s bad, but it’s not a catastrophe. It’s biggest sin is simply being forgettable. I think there could have been a cool way to set up a movie like this, with the stalker engineering a devious plan involving social isolation that makes Sara turn to her and only her, but to do it this way, with kidnapping and murder and animal abuse just seems like the easy way out. No time for an intelligent script here.

There’s nothing to see here except a pretty girl being stared at by a less pretty one, with intermittent shots of Cam Gigandet doing the “smoulder.” If that’s your bag, feel free to check out The Roommate, but that’s all it takes for you to be entertained, you might be better off checking out the Justin Bieber movie next door.

2 out of 5 stars

Comb your damn hair!

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