Monday, September 12, 2011

The Roommate (2011)

Credentials: 4%, Certified Rotten ( / 23 out of 100 ( / 4 out of 10 (
Plot: Small town ditz and all-around hollow vessel Sara (Minka Kelly) accidentally falls off a turnip truck and finds herself smack dab in the middle of downtown L.A. Not one to complain, she decides to enroll in a local college and take some fashion courses. Unfortunately for Sara, and the rest of us, her roommate Rebecca (Leighton Meester) is a teensy, weensy bit crazed. Before you can say: “I want my money back,” Rebecca becomes completely obsessed with Sara and all heck starts to break loose. You have to say heck, because it’s a PG-13 movie. Only get to cuss so much. Gotta make ‘em count.
Thoughts: If I told you “The Roommate” was directed by a former Academy Award nominee, you’d probably have a good laugh and then start looking for the hidden cameras, correct? Surely, I must be trying to put one over on you.
Sadly, I’m not. The film's director, Christian Christiansen, was indeed nominated for an Academy Award back in 2008 for Best Live Action Short Film. Yes that is an actual category and even more amazing yes that is his real name. He’s from Denmark. I guess they don’t have laws regarding cruel and unusual punishment there otherwise his parents would still be behind bars for their malicious naming practices.
However, Christian squared isn’t the one to blame for this mess, I just thought that was an interesting anecdote.
No, the real villains here are the screenwriters (there are FOUR of them, never a good sign) and the so-called actors. These two unholy forces combine to create a perfect storm of annoying the likes of which has rarely been seen.
Exhibit A: I give you our heroine, Sara.
Sara manages to go an entire 90 minute movie without making a single good decision. That has to be some kind of record. Girl can’t even make a smart choice by accident. The character was supposed to be a bit of a naïve, country gal, but our 4-man writing team got a little carried away. Sara ends up as a candidate for dumbest character of all time. It gets so bad you half expect there to be a 10-minute montage of Sara struggling to wear pants like a jacket and going to class with shoes on her hands.        
Instead we watch her wander around downtown L.A. at night by herself, take pills given to her by a total stranger, and leave her drink unattended in the middle of a crowded bar only to return later to finish imbibing it!
Minka Kelly doesn’t do anything to help matters. As Sara, she delivers all of her lines in a kind of breathy, baby-talk whisper and sort of floats around the screen like she’s in a daze. Naïve she is not. Severely concussed, possibly.
And that brings us to another of Sara’s horrible decisions: her new college beau Stephen, played by Cam Gigandet.
Gigandet takes the term d-bag to levels which were previously believed impossible. He’s supposed to be funny and charming, but he comes across like a total ass clown. The poster boy for cliche frat guys everywhere. The only thing he's missing is the popped coller.  Each scene he’s in makes you want to hit him over the head with something heavy.
As the homicidal maniac Rebecca, Leighton Meester somehow is the most likeable person in the movie. Truth be told, I started rooting for her to off Sara and Stephen because I couldn’t take either of them anymore.
Meester does a fine to middling job, but I suspect she looks a lot better sandwiched in between deadweight like Kelly and Gigandet. Compared to those two, she’s might as well be Helen Mirren.
The script is too by the books, “Fatal Attraction” with teens to elicit any sort of suspense, so you need a little blood and guts to fall back on. At least to keep things interesting. Sadly, the PG-13 rating makes sure things stay mostly nice, clean and bloodless. There is a rather unfortunate scene involving a cat which I will not go into any further.
:13- I think a better title for this movie would have been “Minka Kelly Does Her Best to Get Date Raped”
:22- Wow. Ally Michalka is cultivating nice little niche for herself playing a drunken whore
:27- I haven’t seen the cat in a while, what’s she up to? Probably more interesting than what our human characters are doing
:28- Who’s this Irene person everyone keeps talking about? Might want to let the audience in on that little secret
:29- No shower shoes in a college dorm? Ewww… gross Michalka
:34- “I can take care of myself!” HA! What movie have you been watching Minka? Based on what I’ve seen so far, I would trust you to take care of a pencil, let alone yourself
:43- WHO IS IRENE?????
1:26- Well, it’s not a completely happy ending.

Video Evidence
What a truly original and interesting idea! I don't believe I've ever seen anything like this!
Cam Gigandet in all his douchey glory 
                And so there you go, “The Roommate.” And for the record, my freshman year roommate was way worse than this. Now, THAT would make for an entertaining horror movie. Bumblebee tuna.

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