Movie Review: 'The Roommate'


The Roommate is not a film. It's a shameless, redundant, and harrowingly vacant rendition of 15 others movies, as told by a bunch of breathless young mannequins who all look like older, pricier movie stars. If you saw the trailers for The Roommate and all you could think is "Wow, that looks just like a rip-off of Single White Female, which itself was little more than one of the better rip-offs of Fatal Attraction," then you're a wise person. If you followed that thought with "Well, it couldn't actually be the exact SAME MOVIE as Single White Female, could it? I'm sure there's a little more to the movie than that," then you're a charitable movie fan (like me), but trust me on this one: your second thought, the charitable one, is dead freaking wrong.

Cut from the same aggressively generic cloth as Boogeyman, When a Stranger Calls, and The Stepfather, The Roommate (all films we can thank Screen Gems for) does precisely what you think it's going to do, for 88 sluggish and interminable minutes, and then it ends, leaving you without even the slightly full belly that a normal popcorn flick might. But here's the drill, as scintillating as it is:

A brunette girl who looks exactly like Jessica Alba goes to college to study fashion. She meets a trampy girl in the dorm next door, and they go out partying. Then she comes home and her creepy new roommate is there. The new roommate is weird and possessive and touchy-feely. The brunette girl, seemingly devoid of any intuition whatsoever, begins palling around with wacky possessive roommate for a while, but when a new boyfriend (gasp!) and a new apartment (omg!) pop up, you just know The Roommate has about 15 more minutes to go before the end credits show up. And that's about when you'll start kicking yourself for not staying home to watch your Halloween blu-ray. (Hell, Halloween 8 would be preferable to this worthless mass of celluloid.)

Dutch filmmaker Christian E. Christensen fits the bill perfectly for a feckless piece of Screen Gems assembly-line product like The Roommate: he just lets his camera linger (forever) on the faces of his leading ladies, and then occasionally he cuts to an overhead shot of the college campus. And wait till you get a look at his wondrous "sex scene mouth montage." You'll swear a lipstick commercial just broke out in the middle of your worthless movie experience. Even lamer is how the director (and professional plagiarist, er, sorry, screenwriter Sonny Mallhi) realizes, about an hour in to the flick, that he has no real HUMAN characters to care about, and so he throws a kitten into a clothes dryer. Yep: just like Fatal Attraction cooked a bunny and Single White Female killed a puppy, The Roommate wants to roll with the big boys, and believes it has to off a small animal to raise an audience's pulse.

Well, it worked for me. It was the rancid icing on a worthless cake. (And shame on you, MPAA ratings board, for worrying more about "teen partying" and awarding Sony their coveted PG-13 than in preventing children from seeing shock-value animal abuse. Keep up the great work, you fools.)

Bottom line: The Roommate is even more vacuous and generic than its title suggests. It's a dull, unpleasant thriller with no pulse, no thrills, and no soul. Staring into an empty movie theater with a black screen would be more appealing.