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A deranged college freshman becomes obsessed with her new roommate.
For more about The Roommate and the The Roommate Blu-ray release, see the The Roommate Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 8, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Christian E. Christiansen
Writer: Sonny Mallhi
Starring: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Aly Michalka, Danneel Harris, Frances Fisher
» See full cast & crew
The Roommate Blu-ray Review
One, two, the roommate's coming for you...
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 8, 2011
She can be a little over-protective.
The Roommate is one of those movies where every character looks like they just rolled off the Hollywood glamour production line. Every character is physically fit. Their haircuts are hip, their makeup is perfect, and their clothes are straight off of Rodeo Drive. Even background characters who just appear in the movie to fill up space look nothing like John and Jane Doe Average College Student. It's the kind of stuff that's pure Hollywood fantasy, kind of like that observation in Last Action Hero that states that one knows he or she is in the movies because everybody is perfect. It just so happens that everything else about The Roommate is pure Hollywood, too. For as pretty as the cast might be, the story is equally ugly; after all, isn't that a natural law, something about for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction? This is the sort of movie that gets made when there's nothing else to make. A rough shooting script is probably thrown together during a long lunch meeting, casting directors pick the hottest young names in Hollywood who aren't quite yet above making these kinds of movies, and a director is probably chosen by process of drawing straws. The Roommate is all about the superficial. Good-looking people, nice and steady direction, and even a genre-generic score all give the movie the appearance of competency, but it's all countered and for naught thanks to a lousy script and absolutely no feeling. It had to be that way; Isaac Newton said so.
Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly, Just Go With It) is a fresh-faced new college student who's just arrived at school and been assigned to room 316. She soon meets her neighbor Tracy (Aly Michalka, Easy A), a spunky little go-getter who demands that Sara accompany her to a frat party, even though Sara has yet to meet her new roommate. A few drinks, a bit punchy, and with a potential new boyfriend (Cam Gigandet, Burlesque) in her hip pocket, Sara returns from the party late in the night and walks in on her new roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester, Country Strong). Rebecca seems like the friendly sort. She's an aspiring artist, which seems to go nicely with Sara's love of all things style and fashion. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for Rebecca to begin creeping out Sara's friends. Tracy is particularly bothered by Rebecca, and Sara begins to notice that her roommate is more than just another girl. She's not just clingy, but viciously dangerous and needy. For every moment she's not with Sara, she grows all the more angry, uptight, and demanding. Sara's not about to give up her life for Rebecca, but Rebecca just might kill to protect her fading friendship with her roommate.
As if it weren't already pretty easy to surmise that The Roommate would be, at its absolute Sunday best, a serviceable and forgettable little movie, the PG-13 rating completely gives it away. When was the last time there was a good PG-13 Horror movie? OK, The Roommate is really more of a Psychological Thriller, but why mince words? The movie seems to market itself as at least a Chiller, and boy does it leave audiences cold. It's not even remotely scary, and even anyone who's had a roommate in his or her life -- for better or for worse -- the film never gets to that skin-crawling level of fear or that spine-tingling level of suspense. Sure it's not an outright Horror movie, but aren't there supposed to be scares? And no, those "jump out of the shadows" or "sharp musical cues" or "the lights suddenly go out" moments don't count. The Roommate was never going to be a "good" movie, even if it could have been "decent" had there been more attention paid to the dynamics of both the plot and the characters rather than how they look and what they're wearing (and for goodness sake, fashion plays the biggest part of the movie outside of the main storyline). Given the way Hollywood works these days, any sort of PG-13 "handsome teenagers in danger" movies have "dud" written all over them. It's not a stereotype, it's a fact, a sad one at that, but a fact.
At least The Roommate is competently assembled. The actors look really good, but with their looks don't come any real embarrassing performances. There's certainly nothing special here; the actors go through the motions and don't really convey any real sense of fear, but then again the script gives them nothing but a framework around which to work. Leighton Meester isn't bad as the antagonist; her darker motivations are explored but one never gets the sense that the character is ever going to be fleshed out to a satisfactory degree. The scriptwriters seemed content to just label her as "troubled" and let that evolve as it may. Meester plays the character competently, but never dares to really stretch her out into something more than a nice-looking psycho, failing to provide much of an edge to a very one-dimensional character. Minka Kelly delivers a serviceable performance as the victim, but again there's no depth or attempt to flesh out the character beyond what's written on the page; even the character's personal history is really just an emotionless means to an end rather than a critical component in rounding the character into form. Cam Gigandet is fine as the generic boyfriend, and Billy Zane turns in the film's best performance in a small supporting part as a fashion design professor who's in the teaching business for more than the paycheck. Behind the camera, Director Christian E. Christiansen handles his first major motion picture with an admirable level of know-how. The Roommate is at least superficially polished to a fine sheen; it's just too bad there's not even an inch of depth underneath.
The Roommate Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sony's 1080p Blu-ray release of The Roommate is a stunner. Though shot digitally, The Roommate sometimes looks fairly close to film. The general flat and glossy appearance normally associated with HD video-to-Blu-ray transfers is a rarity rather than a regularity. This Blu-ray is overflowing with wonderful details and accurate colors. This image is very crisp, naturally sharp, and incredibly clean. Facial textures are magnificent, and even minor elements, like beads of rainwater accumulating on a car, look amazingly clear, natural, and shapely. The color palette is neutral, appearing neither too dim nor unnaturally warm and vibrant. Black levels are amazingly deep, and flesh tones are actor-specific accurate. There's some light banding, but very little noise and no additional unwanted artifacts or digital tinkering. The movie is a real flop, but Sony's Blu-ray transfer is exceptional.
The Roommate Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Roommate moves onto Blu-ray with a healthy DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This is a high-energy track that plays its music with a purpose. The opening Rock tune is heavy, loud, sharp, and wholly satisfying, emerging from every speaker across the front and even flowing into the back for good measure. Several party scenes nicely envelop the listener; music, laughter, and other general sound effects in both frat houses and clubs effortlessly place the listener in the middle of the excitement. The film's generic faux Horror movie score features plenty of bass and quick, sharp musical cues; the latter is crisp, but the former is a little loose. There's not much more to the track; very general sound effects are seamlessly integrated, and dialogue is smooth and never problematic, remaining firmly entrenched up the middle. This track is pretty much all about the music; all else is sonic a bonus, but Sony's lossless track works well with every element.
The Roommate Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Roommate earns average marks for its by-the-numbers collection of extras.
The Roommate Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Roommate is the very definition of "been there, done that." A serviceably bland movie that's all style -- and there's not even much style at that -- and no substance, Director Christian E. Christiansen's film seemed doomed before it even got off the ground. A movie is generally nothing without a smart, well-constructed, and in some way meaningful story; all the good-looking people and smooth direction in the world can't save one without the essentials. The Roommate works just well enough to play as meaningless entertainment, and if viewers go in expecting nothing but the worst, it might even pass for mindlessly enjoyable. Might. Sony's Blu-ray release of The Roommate features strong video and audio to go along with a few extras. Worth a rental on a slow weekend.
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The Roommate Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The Roommate Blu-ray Announced - April 26, 2011
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's terrifying new thriller The Roommate (2011) will debut on Blu-ray on May 17th. Leighton Meester (TV's Gossip Girl, Country Strong) leads a hot young cast, including Minka Kelly (TV's Friday Night Lights), Cam Gigandet (Burlesque, ...
• The Roommate Blu-ray Announced - March 29, 2011
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced The Roommate for Blu-ray release on May 17. This thriller stars Minka Kelly as a college freshman whose rommate (Leighton Meester), initially Sara's new best friend, turns out to be obsessive, unbalanced...and ...
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