Review: THE ROOMMATE (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Review: THE ROOMMATE (2011)


It's 1992's SINGLE WHITE FEMALE revisited and updated for the modern young crowd. The result is THE ROOMMATE, a slickly formulaic "roommate from hell" thriller once popularized in the '90s. Being too close to formula is nothing wrong as long as the movie gets the tone right and engaging enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seat. Unfortunately that's barely a case for this wannabe thriller -- it's bland, lightweight and utterly uninspired.

The plot, as expected, is standard-issue: Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly, of TV's Friday Night Lights) is looking forward to pursue her studies in fashion design at the University of Los Angeles, where she is moving into her dorm. After her first night out in a frat party gone wrong, she meets new roommate named Rebecca (Leighton Meester, of TV's Gossip Girl). It doesn't take long before they become friends, as both of them shared their same passion of coffee shops and art. But unbeknownst to Sara, Rebecca is a borderline schizophrenic who's been stopping taking medication for a long while. In fact Rebecca grows increasingly obsessed over Sara and becomes very protective of her. She'll make sure that Sara is safe and free of any bad influence or anyone wants to get too close to her -- which includes her trashy gal pal Tracy (Aly Michalka), new drummer boyfriend Stephen (Cam Gigandet), annoying ex-boyfriend Jason (Matt Lanter), sneaky art professor Mr. Roberts (Billy Zane), and fashion artist aunt Irene (Danneel Harris). Of course, Sara eventually finds out Sara's sickly obsession, and you get the drill what happens next.

Danish director Christian E. Christiansen's Hollywood feature debut here is strictly by-numbers. Okay, he knows how to frame his shot beautifully with the help of Phil Parmet's glossy cinematography and John Frizzell's string-laden score. The young actors, anchored by Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester are both photogenic enough to look out for.

However, Sonny Mallhi's screenplay is totally stripped off from any inspired materials worth mentioning for. Everything here are awfully predictable from start to finish, not to mention the story lingers too much to amp up some tension when it supposes to. It's understandable that a genre thriller like this can be a slow-burner, but this is really a test of patience. Even when suspense does arrive, they are lazily-constructed in a lame PG-13 kind of way. And as photogenic as both Kelly and Meester are, their performances are average at best.

Although there are times the movie does push boundaries a bit (e.g. suggested lesbianism midway on Rebecca's part), THE ROOMMATE is all mere gimmick. Very disappointed.

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