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Movie Review

The Roommate

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and menace, sexual content, some language and teen partying.

Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Crime Mystery Psychologial Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 33 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
February 4, 2011 (wide)
DVD: May 17, 2011
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Featuring: Cam Gigandet (Stephen), Leighton Meester (Rebecca), Minka Kelly (Sara), Alyson Michalka (Tracy), Matt Lanter (Jason), Billy Zane, Danneel Harris (Irene), Katerina Graham (Kim), Frances Fisher, more »
Director: Christian E. Christiansen
Producer: Vertigo Entertainment, Doug Davison, George Flynn, Roy Lee, Sonny Mallhi, Beau Marks, Irene Yeung
Distributor: Sony Pictures, Screen Gems

“2,000 colleges. 8 million roommates. Which one will you get?”

“Thou shalt not steal” is one of the Big 10—commandents, that is. Apparently the writers and directors of “The Roommate” (2011) skipped Sunday School when that lesson was being covered, because it appears to have been “borrowed” from the pages of the “Single White Female” (1992) screenplay. (Editor’s note: Legally, Sony Pictures owns distribution rights to both films, one under their Screen Gems company and the earlier film under their Columbia Pictures company.)

Copyrighted © image.
Columbia Pictures’ “Single White Female” (1992)

Sure, the actors are younger and “hotter” and the location has been changed to a college campus rather than a big city apartment, but the rest is all there: two girls living together, one likes the other just a little bit too much and wants to remove any hint of human distraction from their idyllic life together through any means necessary [read: psychotic behavior, violence, murder].

Rather than Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Roommate” centers around the first semester of Rebecca (Leighton Meester from “Gossip Girls” TV series) and Sara (Minka Kelly from “Parenthood” TV series) as they settle into their new lives as college freshmen. Rebecca, still reeling from the tragic loss of her older sister, has set her sights on becoming a star fashion designer, following in the footsteps of an old family friend. She quickly makes friends, especially the fast-and-loose Tracy (Alyson Michalka—“Easy A”) who wants little more than the “traditional” college experience of drunkenness and sexual promiscuity. Sara, on the other hand, has only one desire, spending time with her new “sister” Rebecca. When she is rebuffed and her affections not returned, we quickly see a darker, scarier side of the young coed. She will stop at nothing to protect Rebecca from anything untoward; Sara prefers to keep Rebecca all to herself.

The action of the film was fairly predictable; no real surprises here. It is rated PG-13, but that does not mean safe for children. Although there is no nudity, and the bad language is minimal; there is plenty of mature subject matter here. The film is set on a college campus, and, continuing in true (disappointing) Hollywood fashion, there is plenty of alcohol, risqué behavior, and simulated sex acts to go around. Billy Zane, the one veteran actor in this cast of newbies, plays a lethario professor who trades good grades for special, sexual favors.

“The Roommate” has high production values, so it is not a poorly made film, and viewers who have never seen SWF or films like it, may actually enjoy the cinematography, the acting and well-created suspense. Adult viewers may enjoy a night out watching this film, but this is definitely not a movie for impressionable teens. The viewer is likely to emerge from the film with more questions about the characters as much of the back story is underdeveloped.

In the end, “The Roommate” is a mediocre film of the “I don’t have anything better to do, so I may as well go see a movie” genre.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Heavy


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Comments from young people
Negative—This movie is a waste of time! From viewing the trailer, I was expecting a semi-decent horror/thriller. Man, was I wrong! For one thing, the actual storyline about the crazy roommate wasn’t presented until a ways into the film. For the first 20 minutes or so, it’s all partying college students. You’re sitting there, awkwardly, thinking “Alrighty, when does this story start?” When they finally do set up the “Wow, my roommate is a psycho” storyline, and it started getting A LITTLE more interesting, the theater was laughing out loud at the attempted “scary parts.”

In this movie, they don’t even have a decent cast to dilute the lacking storyline. All the acting performances were poor, with the exception of Leighton Meester. It’s too bad she didn’t hold out her talent for being a villain for a more worthy film. All in all, this is an objectionable, poorly made film that’s just plain stupid!

It’s a colossal waste of time. I wouldn’t even recommend renting it. Trust me. You’re not missing much. Except maybe a good laugh.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Lydia P, age 17 (USA)