Stupid, slow-developing and completely unaware of its place, The Roommate plots itself like a B-movie, then presents itself like a real attempt at cinema. It’s a storytelling nightmare. You know the dude that you hang out with now and again that gets too drunk, says outrageous things and stays until every one else has left? This movie is that dude. It could be a lot of fun. Hell, at times it is a lot of fun, but because it has no idea it’s a complete joke, the result is sad and off-putting. The last time I checked, no one in The Shining had sex scenes will Billy Zane or pulled out bully button piercings. Get some perspective and act accordingly.
Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly) is off to college. Eager to meet her freshman roommate, she initially passes on her new floormates’ invitation to a frat party, but after a minimal amount of prodding, she relents and heads out for a night on the town. Perhaps because she’s from Iowa or maybe because she’s never seen or heard anything about fraternities, Sara and her new friend Tracy (Alyson Michalka) unintentionally get wasted off the punch. Just as their dizzied balances are spiraling out of control, the girls are saved by a total douche bag (Cam Gigandet) who intentionally spills his drink on Sara to start a conversation. Obviously, this leads to kissing. A good deed deserves one in return.
Back at the dorm, Sara drunkenly meets her roommate Rebecca (Leighton Meester), and by the following afternoon, they’re B.F.F.’s. Shopping for books, dishing about old boyfriends and giggling their way to common ground, it soon becomes clear that Rebecca hates Tracy. Still, Sara can’t get enough of the club scene and much to her roommate’s chagrin, heads out a few nights later with Tracy in tow. Drinks are downed (this time on purpose), and the girls get separated, leading to a late night collect call and a save from Rebecca. At this point, things start to get weird. Tracy gets attacked in the shower, Rebecca grows increasingly jealous of the douche bag love interest and Sara’s slimy ex-boyfriend stops calling. Oh to be eighteen again, with the world at your fingertips and a random psychopath inhabiting the adjacent bed.
Sick of her strange and confusing living situation, Rebecca decides to move in with douche bag love interest at the frat house, and this sets in motion a crazed downward spiral involving a bunny, fashion designers, masturbation and Billy Zane. Let’s just take a second to appreciate that last sentence. Somehow, like a gift from God himself, The Roommate finds itself able to submurge Billy Zane in an awesome bad movie trifecta of fashion designers, masturbation and bunnies, and still, there’s nothing here in the way of comedy. Where is the asshole, emotionally detached best friend? Where is the sassy black woman? Someone needed to pause and call bullshit on this whole arrangement. Then again, that would have required a slight bit of perspective.
There are at least three moments in this film where I had the following reaction: no….really?...do it…please….yes! When other people cringe from the screen because something too immoral is about to happen, I tend to award the film points for having balls. I like things I haven’t seen before, and I like films that embrace the perverse. At times, The Roommate embraces the perverse, but it’s absolutely crippled by its PG-13 rating and lack of realization that sometimes the further you go, the closer you get to black comedy. Had the people behind Very Bad Things shot from this same script, The Roommate would have been a gripping and twisted horror classic. Instead it’s the drunken, fifth year senior that doesn’t realize his life is a joke.
There is at least a thirty percent chance you will walk out of this movie.
Reviewed By: Mack Rawden