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Bad 'Roommate'

Article Published: Feb. 10, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Bad 'Roommate'

Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester star in 'The Roommate.'

Freshman year in college, my roommate nabbed the top bunk.

Every night, he"d suffer from the heartburn associated with the common freshman diet and, like clockwork, would eat Tums.

He"d fall asleep with antacid still in mouth, wake up a half-hour later and place the partially dissolved tablet on my desk shelf, which sat near the head of his bed.

Months later, I discovered this chalky heap of nastiness behind a framed photo of my niece.
He apologized, "Heh heh. Sorry, dude," and gradually built a new mound on the other end of the shelf.

This would"ve made a better movie than "The Roommate," a so-called psychological thriller that shares the consistency of a months" old, half-eaten antacid.

Put simply, "The Roommate" does not thrill, nor does it, uh, psychose. It"s a bland anomaly that promises racy coed mayhem, but delivers PG-rated boredom, better suited for a made-for-TV exclusive.

Thirty-year-old actress Minka Kelly (TV"s "Friday Night Lights") plays college freshman Sara, newly arrived to the University of Los Angeles and eager to make friends, experience new things and tackle a degree in fashion design.

Her assigned roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester, TV"s "Gossip Girl"), however, wants Sara to herself and is willing to go to any extreme to keep it that way a?" be it threatening fellow dormies in the shower, killing a kitten or abusing herself for attention, all of which goes unnoticed by Sara.

Rebecca feels even more threatened when Sara starts dating frat boy Stephen (Cam Gigandet, "Burlesque"), who apparently went to the Luke Perry School of Brow-Furrowing and Squinting.

Sara doesn"t realize something"s amiss until visiting Rebecca"s parents for Thanksgiving, when Rebecca"s mom (Frances Fisher, "Titanic") lets slip that her daughter"s on meds a?" namely Ziprexa, a powerful antipsychotic. But her realization may have come too late, as Rebecca"s ultimate scheme is already under way, and it doesn"t involve partially-dissolved antacids.

But "The Roommate" never delves into Rebecca"s twisted reasoning, only establishing that she"s four cans short of a six-pack. Psychological thrillers need a bit of psychology to work, and the absence of any possible motive makes this a hard pill to swallow.

While fear of the unknown is incredibly effective in thrillers, director Christian E. Christiansen ("Zoomers") seems to have misplaced this convention a?" we have to know there"s an unknown before we can find it scary.

Kelly and Meester perform well, considering the material, but they"re simply going through the motions of a tepid plot that"s more transparent than their slathered-on lip gloss.

"The Roommate," rated PG-13 for violence and menace, sexual content, some language, and teen partying, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit

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