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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Roommate / * (PG-13)

Posted Monday, February 21, 2011, at 11:49 PM

(Photo)
Leighton Meester is the creepy roommate of Minka Kelly in the suspense retread "The Roommate".
Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Christian E. Christiansen. Written by Sonny Mallhi. Running time: 91 min. Rated PG-13 (for violence and menace, sexual content, some language, and teen partying).

Watching the new thriller "The Roommate", I was brought back to my college days as if it were yesterday. I remember the special bond held between my roommate and me. In fact, it wasn't a far cry from what is depicted in this movie. I remember the day that I received my roomie's contact information in the mail a few weeks before our first semester began. If it had been left up to me, we probably never would've contacted each other ahead of time; but like any great Hollywood "Fatal Attraction" story, Mikey P.'s obsession with me began that summer with an innocent introductory phone call and would only end with the death of a cherished pet or a loved one or both.

It's amazing to me just how well-cast this film is because if I were to describe Mike and myself our freshman year, I would definitely be Minka Kelly from "Friday Night Lights" and Mike would most certainly be Leighton Meester from "Gossip Girl". We both shared that same high-registered voice that made it almost impossible to listen to a conversation between the two of us without the desire to shoot yourself. It also allowed Mike to pretend to be me while doing creepy things with my ex on the phone.

Now, this is kind of a horror movie, but what's really scary about it is how it mirrors my own college freshman experience. Of course, I wasn't a fashion major like Kelly is here, but I was a little fashion maven, wearing all the best designers and telling people I found my clothes in second hand stores, because that's the really cool thing to do. My friends and I would go clubbing at night and pull the whole "watch me seduce this chick" trick, 'cause nothing's hotter than watching your friends score, right?!

I had this totally hot girlfriend. We'll just call her Cam Gigandet, because, really, that's just about the cutest name I can think of. Who cares if that's the name of an actor from "The O.C." who happens to play the heroine's boyfriend in this movie? He should have it in his contract that he never has to play a character with a name as boring as "Steve". Only his full name, Cam Gigandet, can possibly convey how totally cute he is. As in the movie, my Cam introduced herself to me with the most lecherous move I've ever seen as a pickup line, but hey, she was as cute as whatever a Cam Gigandet is, so how could I hold it against her?

Now, Mike could've just been jealous of everything I had--good looks (despite the fact that he shared them), incredible fashion sense, a hottie for a girlfriend--or maybe he just wanted me all for himself. But, it went deeper than that. Mike was sick. Not just perverse sick, although he was that, but he actually needed medication. Turns out in high school he obsessed over a guy who looked just like me. Not only that, but all three of that guy's other friends looked exactly like my three other friends, whose names I never learned because they didn't have enough lines in my story. Weirds, huh?

You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd think that Mike had spent all his time watching movies like "Fatal Attraction" and "Basic Instinct", because he really seemed to fall into all the same behavioral patterns as the antagonists in those films. Come to think of it, he did keep a copy of "Single White Female" under his pillow at night, right next to the picture he had of me with my girlfriend's head cut out and his pasted in its place. Despite all the Hollywood clichés that seemed to define our freshman year you'd think that at some point Mike and I would've at least made out a little. The film didn't get that wrong either. None of the gratuitous lesbianism involved my character, thank God.

For all its similarity to my own freshman experience in college, "The Roommate" has made me realize that perhaps my college experience wasn't as cool as I remember. I mean shouldn't the school have informed me that my roommate was taking some sort of anti-psychotic medication? And if Mike wanted to hurt me with the disappearance of the precious stray kitty I brought home one night, why did he have to tumble it around in a dryer? Couldn't he have just "accidentally" let it out like he said he did? Ah well, I guess you can't really question the actions of your psychotic roommate who wants to kill everyone you love just so he can have you all to himself, but it's too bad "The Roommate" didn't try to answer some of these inconsistencies. Also, in seeing this film, I'm surprised at how dull and uninspired that tumultuous year seems when dramatized. The cat might beg to differ.

Note: Obviously this review has been written in jest. Mike was actually the best roommate a kid from the coast of Maine moving to a university just outside New York City could've asked for. The only factual point in this anecdote created to highlight the absurdity of this movie is that Mike is the one who contacted me before our semester started. I was too scared to call him, but that was my issue, not his.

"The Roommate" is currently playing at Marshall Cinema in Marshall and Galaxy Cinema in Sedalia.



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A Penny in the Well
ANDREW D. WELLS
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Andrew is a professionally trained actor and stage director. He was a reporter for the daily newspaper The Marshall Democrat News. He has been critiquing film since Mr. Lucas released the first of his "Star Wars" prequels in 1999. His reviews can also be seen at his blog site.
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