THE ROOMMATE: When Just a Little Weird Equals Predictable DSM Psycho

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
THE ROOMMATE: When Just a Little Weird Equals Predictable DSM Psycho

Off to college usually means a bit of dorm living with a roommate of the same gender. It’s the great leap toward adulthood and normally the urge to find acceptance and BBF camaraderie will intensify as intimate relationships enter the canvas.

Still, the roommate dorm experience has a pressure cooker dilemma too, especially if you have nothing in common and/or your lifestyles, morality and philosophies differ. Pair a morning person with a night person and its early morning and late night lightning and thunder.

When small town design student Sara ( Minka Kelly) moves into the University of L.A. dorm , she’s the first to enter the twin room. Her roommate Rebecca (Leighton Meester) turns up as a stealth surprise, after a little clubbing with another couple of gals, including blonde babe and snob, Alyson Michalka. No prob, the twin bed partner appear nice, as in Ugly Betty without the glasses.

At first, Meester’s sins appear muddled benefit of the doubt issues, such as gazing too long , ‘worrying’ about a non- calling roommate late night, choosing a sentimental necklace not a glamorous hot dress and some expensive red heels , a clandestine bit of nickname dialogue (prefer “Reba,” “Becky,” “no, I like Rebecca”) or expressing her disdain for a verbally shared near intimate tryst with a naughty professor.

You could roll the paranoia dice on the creepiness claims platter. Still, Meester has an angry, suspicious, even fearful, mob of ex-gf’s, but they are all alive, have no physical scars, possess all appendages, and could be a lapse of screenwriting or an unfair isolation chamber. Since both women have talents leaning on visual artistry, there’s room for exploring character development, yet, after lots of bait (which becomes I told you so) the production succumbs to overhead “she’s off her meds” dialogue and a quick mutual BF and GF visit to a computer for googling the named prescription.

It’s a quick way to explain remove the paranoid thought and insert a stereotypical screenwriting shortcut. An offensive mental health cliché? Yes and no. No multiple personality disorders yet schizophrenia equals ‘psycho’ and those words make the dialogue buzz list. Director Christian E. Christiansen stretches out what could be subtle clues, then, forsakes the head game for full time predictability. Couldn’t she just be a little introverted and try a little too hard in making significant friendships? In other words, not EVERY individual who is a little too interested, too helpful, or too touchy feely is a potential serious DSM III case.

Having played the merciless ‘psycho’ card in full, the agenda heads for splatter city as our product of relatively non-dysfunctional parents races through Miss Midwest’s personal boundaries who now has a BF (OMG) and an opportunity to move to an off-campus apartment. Predictable turns “SWF” and “Fatal Attraction,” just insert different names, ages, genders and situations (SPOILER: One scene modified and shaken could easily have come from “Basic Instinct.” )

“Roommate,” which some say is no thriller but a reminder for high school and college age girls about the perils of GF’s pushing the edge teases (a little) by slow and easy unbalanced personality discoveries. You know what’s coming , but hope for an untainted destination. It doesn’t occur. Instead, this one flows from ‘she’s got a problem’ and ‘watch out’ to an all too familiar RUN command

Wasted, not literally, an ex named Jason calling cross country at patterned intervals subject to caller ID giveaway.

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