The Roommate – 2011

Directed by Christian E. Christiansen
Starring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Giganet, Aly Michalka, Danneel Harris, Billy Zane
Written by
Sonny Mallhi

Pretty girl, stupid hat.

If one ever wanted to see a beautiful girl wear a stupid hat, they need only watch the first 15 minutes of The Roommate, and you will get to see the hat in class, and then at a club.  If the movie had been relegated to shots of that girl wearing her fedora in various hip places, the movie could not have been any more mundane.  Pretty much an update of Single White Female, The Roommate is everything one would expect from a PG-13 film, from the naked woman waist up, shown from the back to the bloodless murders.

This is not to say that the movie is without its moments.  These are supplied almost entirely by Leighton Meester, who plays the role of the seemingly innocent Rebecca.  From the moment we see Rebecca pierce her own ears, to the moment where she interrupts the shower of another of her friends by ripping out her belly button ring, it is clear that this is a can short of a six-pack.  She plays the part of obsessive friend, doing things just a bit before you’d think it was acceptable to do so, if you ever did find it acceptable to, you know, know someone’s schedule better than they do.  In the world of college, it is easy to see how something like this could occur.  Leaving the nest, it would seem a strong possibility that one could hold onto the next thing a little too close.  The film moves a little too fast into nutcase land, but Meester plays the part of obsessive waif quite effectively.

As the object of her obsession, Sara (Kelly) plays like a blank slate.  She’s into style over fashion, if you can buy that stupid hat as style.  She likes to party appropriately and conservatively.  She meets Mr. right now (Giganet) and they do the right things all the time, especially to each other.  That neither of these people are appealing in the slightest only serves to make Rebecca’s actions all the more insane.  Rebecca could be obsessed over a cardboard cutout of the Mariah Carey and it would be interesting to her, if not to us.

Eyebrow guy, stupid hat.

“I don’t want more space.  I want…” she says to Sara, who is contemplating moving out.  Next thing you know, the cat finds out what Rebecca wants.

It’s pretty funny that Billy Zane plays the “professor” of Sara’s design class.  He wears a stupid hat, too.  A beret.  It comes with the territory.  He is just as vacant as Giganet, and he has had much more time to fill the space with hubris.

That Rebecca’s parents act like the smiling family from The Twilight Zone movie should be an indication of something, but Sara has to follow this thing through, you know, to the end, or at least the false end and the one or two endings after it.

You can tell what kind of movie you are getting with the title alone.  You will get a lot of nutty planning, and if you are a nutball, you have a few more tricks to add to your repertoire.  The tricks are given with no particular flair or style, aside from that of Meester.  None of these people are people I want to know, especially Giganet’s Biff-er…I mean Stephen.  Okay, I might hang out with Rebecca.  Half way through this film, I was rooting for her to inflict some real damage on his stupid, grinning face.  He doesn’t need the hat.

(** out of *****)

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