The Roommate

21 Mar

Title: The Roommate
Year:
2011
Director:
Christian E. Christiansen
Writer: Sonny Malhi
Starring:
Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Daneel Harris, Alyson Michalka, Katerina Graham, Matt Lanter, Nina Dobrev, Billy Zane
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, violence and menace, sexual content, some language and teen partying
Runtime:
91 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
4.3
Rotten Tomatoes:
5%

 

I knew the chances of The Roommate actually turning out to be a good film were pretty slim, but I was still holding out some hope for it, hoping it would prove to be somewhat decent or, if that was too much to ask for, that it would be so bad it would be super campy and thus become good. And that hope was all because of one of its two leading ladies. And that would obviously be the gorgeous Minka Kelly, one of my favorite TV stars for the past few years, she first charmed the socks out of me as Lyla Garrity in Friday Night Lights, my favorite TV show ever, and then once she was done with that she started a really successful turn in the equally splendid Parenthood, and now she’s set to become one of the three new Charlie’s Angels for ABC.

But yes, I was psyched to see Ms. Kelly as the star of a feature film, and the girl she’d be co-starring with, Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester, was someone I thought she’d be good squaring off with, so I was really digging this project. But alas, all that hope amounted for nothing, The Roommate ended up being yet another horror flick with absolutely no scares or chills, which it’s really pretty horrid, and if this weren’t an excuse to see an hour and a half of Ms. Kelly then I would consider giving this one a failing grade.

Because really, the only commendable thing about this film is that at least it knew how to pick its stars, and even though they’re granted no real depth they at least make the most of what little they are given, but you can’t help but walk out of the movie feeling that they both deserved much better, not a dull movie that wasn’t good or, as I said, bad enough to be fun.

And that, I think, is the biggest problem I had with The Roommate, the fact that it was just plain “eh”. I mean, it didn’t even try to make an impression, even if that was going to be a bad one, it just stays there looming at us, and there’s no atmosphere or pacing or anything, not even the music, that suggests that we should get scared here, it all feels stupendously flat.

But anyways, lets cut to the story, even thought it’s one you’d find out all you need to know about just from watching the trailer. Ms. Kelly plays a girl who just moved into college, and then Ms. Meester plays the titular roommate who, of course, seems to be super chill at first but then you start finding out quick enough that she’s a total creepster and is becoming a tad obsessed with Ms. Kelly’s character.

We have obviously seen this shtick played out countless times through the years, especially reminiscent of 1992’s Single White Female, but that’s not my beef with this film. I mean, if you got two attractive and talented young ladies to star, then you could have made something pretty decent from familiar material, but instead, even though the ladies hit their marks, the film falls way too short from anything near good.

One explanation I have for this is that the supporting cast isn’t felt enough here, not the actor’s fault because they tried, but their material was too damn bland for them to have any effect whatsoever. And the other reason I can suggest for the quality of The Roommate is the fact that it was rated PG-13. Granted, that friendlier rating is obviously far more friendly, commercially speaking, and the film ended its box office run with over $37 million on a $16 million budget, so at least it didn’t lose anyone any cash, not to mention that it was obviously aimed at a younger audience, considering it had a cast full of people who have worked in things like Gossip Girl, Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. But still, the R rating would have provided this one with opportunities to be more fun and more sexy, both qualities which would have helped this one a lot.

The Roommate has no depth whatsoever, no real backstory, not a thing to make us connect. And considering it also doesn’t have any real scary moments to make us forget about all that other stuff it’s lacking, then it fails quite badly, and thus turns into predictable fare. Which would have been all good and fun had it recognized the potential for campy greatness that lied underneath. By all of this I’m trying to say that The Roommate had the potential to be something much more than it was, it didn’t have to be perfect, but there were a couple other paths it could have taken to become at least more fun. And instead we get a dull one, but hey, at least it still has Minka Kelly in it, and she alone makes it bearable.

Grade: C

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