Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly
Directed by Christian E. Christiansen
I'm always fascinated when a studio thinks a movie it has produced sucks so bad that the suits refuse to screen it for critics. So early this Friday morning I paid up to see The Roommate for myself at a Manhattan multiplex.
Two homeless gentlemen entered separately, carrying their blankets. They left in 15 minutes, perhaps preferring the raw cold outdoors to the warmth of a theater that emanated such a stench from the big screen. That left me and four teen girls to be firsties at The Roommate. The girls stayed for the whole damn movie, but talked incessantly about the film's star, Leighton Meester, and how she's been faring as Blair Waldorf, the spoiled heiress she plays weekly on the CW's Gossip Girl. My theory is their chatter was a protective reflex to shield their beloved Mees Blair from being contaminated by the dialogue and situations onscreen.
So, yes, The Roommate — the umpteenth uncredited remake of 1992's Single White Female — sucks bad, real bad. The plot pivots on poor Sara (Minka Kelly), in Los Angeles fresh from Iowa, learning that her college roommate at ULA is Rebecca (Meester), a Beverly Hills girl who is seriously off her meds. She becomes so jealous and overprotective of Sara that's she'll KILL to keep Sara all to herself. I'll say no more, except that Danish director Christian E. Christiansen has no flair for suspense. And the PG-13 rating tamps down any redeeming sex and violence.
Out of presumed boredom, the teen girls behind me played a game of identifying the actors, several cast members being veterans of other CW TV series. "That's Liam from 90210," shrieked one girl when Matt Lanter showed up as Sara's phone stalker. "And, look, it's Aly Michalka from Hellcats!" Even I noted that it was Nina Dobrev, the beautiful star if the CW's Vampire Diaries, reduced to cameo duty as a former friend of Rebecca's. Is the CW running some kind of indentured servitude scam on young Hollywood? The whole movie looks like it was shot during lunch hour for various CW series. I was saddest of all for Meester, a talented actress being severely mistreated by the movies — Going the Distance, Country Strong and now THIS? Get a new agent, girl. I'm told that The Roommate may make a box-office killing by being the only alternative for the ladies on Super Bowl weekend. Say it isn't so.