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Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 05:07 am

Roommate in need of eviction


I know that beauty is only skin deep but in The Roommate it’s what takes the place of character. There’s no question that everyone in the cast is a looker. Obviously there’s a “sexiness” requirement to be admitted at UCLA as there’s nary an overweight, pimple-plagued social reject in sight. Yep, this is the campus of pretty people and that’s the extent of their character. There’s the brunette beauty, the blonde free sprit and the auburn-haired psycho. Names are superfluous here – these characters are as deep as a puddle.

Still, screenwriter Sonny Mallhi sticks with convention and assigns the three principal babes names. Sara (Minka Kelly) is the naïve girl from Iowa out to set the fashion world on fire, Rebecca (Leighton Meester) is her clingy roommate and Tracy (Alyson Michalka) is the good time girl who’s working overtime getting her degree in partying. Beauty that she is, Sara draws men like a moth to a flame and Stephen (Cam Gigandet) is her beau of choice. This would be great if it weren’t for Rebecca, whose possessiveness leads her to take steps to weed out anyone who might prevent her from having Sara’s undivided attention.

There are quite a few things wrong with Christian Christiansen’s “thriller,” not the least being it’s a pale retread of 1992’s Single White Female, which was mediocre at best. Obviously, it’s hard to care for characters as vacuous as those here, but the film’s chief sin is that it plays things safe. Well within its PG-13 parameters, there’s little suspense here as Rebecca comes off more as a mother hen than a psychotic stalker and the film suffers for it. She bullies rather than scares and where there’s no threat, there’s no suspense, which comes as no surprise. This film fails to commit or convince from the very first frame.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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