Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 6
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Cinema

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

I CAN TELL THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE BFFLs: College freshman Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly, right) is getting acquainted with her roommate in their dorm room. However, Sara will soon find out that Rebecca (Leighton Meester) is seriously disturbed and will try to take complete control of Sara’s life.

The Roommate: Danish Director Presents Plagiarized Psychological Thriller

Kam Williams

Single White Female (1992) was a thriller that involved a young woman’s unhealthy attempt to ingratiate herself with her new college roommate to the exclusion of all others. Her bizarre behavior gradually escalated over the course of the film from dressing alike and adopting the same hobbies, to killing their pet puppy and sabotaging her roommate’s romantic relationship.

The obsessive woman’s compulsion was attributed to her having witnessed her identical twin’s drowning when they were 9-years-old. Her attempt to bond so closely with a perfect stranger was explained as a perverted desire to recreate the closeness she had formerly felt with her dead twin sister.

The reason for this detailed digression is that The Roommate is a brazen copy of Single White Female, and an awful one at that. The movie marks the English language directing debut of Christian Christiansen whose earlier movies were shot in his native Danish. Screenwriter Sonny Mallhi inexplicably takes all the credit for the script despite the similarities to the above mentioned movie.

Instead of being set in New York City’s fashion world, the story unfolds in Los Angeles where we find freshman Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly) making a smooth adjustment to college life. The attractive fashion major from the midwest is already dating a popular upperclassman (Cam Gigandet) and turning the head of her professor (Billy Zane), who she wants to be her mentor.

The fly in the ointment is her deeply disturbed roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester), who chillingly announces to Sara “I always wanted a sister” upon learning that Sara’s twin had died at, you guessed it, the age of 9. Rebecca then monopolizes Sara’s time while embarking on a reign of terror aimed at ruining all of the poor girl’s relationships, such as telling a suitor never to call Sara again, killing her cat Cuddles, or ripping a ring out of the belly of Sara’s best friend, Tracy (Alyson Michalka).

In addition to the thinly veiled plagiarism, there is atrocious acting, slapdash editing, the absence of character development, and poor dialogue, such as “The best designers push the boundaries!,” that is delivered with a complete lack of conviction.

However, the film’s biggest flaw is its failure to generate any tension. If you fail to heed this warning, don’t be surprised if you’re the only person left in the theater when the lights come up.

Poor (0 stars). Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, menacing violence, and teen partying. Running time: 93 minutes. Distributor: Screen Gems.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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