Bad movies come in many different varieties. Some are based on interesting concepts that, due to executive meddling or other such interference, fall apart in execution. Others attempt to exploit whatever cliché is popular at the time of their release, often relying on the performance and/or star power behind their main cast. Still others fall into the category of "so-bad-it’s-good" by taking their boring and tired concepts and pairing them with a lackluster cast, almost turning terrible films into works of art.
Then there are films like "The Roommate," which are so insultingly awful that they deserve a category all to themselves. With a horribly generic premise, a slower-than-molasses plot, and a shallow and boring cast, "The Roommate" somehow manages to take unforgivably bad filmmaking to a whole new extreme.
The film centers around college freshman Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly, TV’s "Parenthood"), who moves into her new dorm room, only to find that her roommate has not yet arrived. After meeting her neighbor, Tracy (Alyson Michalka, "Easy A"), Sara goes to a frat party where she meets Stephen (Cam Gigandet, "Pandorum"), the drummer for the fraternity’s resident rock band. The two quickly become attracted to each other, and spend the rest of the night together. Upon returning to her room, Sara finally comes face-to-face with her roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester, TV’s "Gossip Girl"). While she seems nice at first, Rebecca soon begins to show signs of jealousy and paranoia. It is later revealed that Rebecca has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, which is incorrectly identified as bipolar disorder by the main characters, and she has had a history of stalking girls like Sara for quite some time. One by one, Rebecca begins to separate everyone else from Sara by force so she can have her all to herself.
The film’s plot is painfully generic, poorly executed, and lazily written. Its story is to the film "Single White Female" as the Vanilla Ice song "Ice Ice Baby" is to Queen’s "Under Pressure," which is to say that it has been blatantly copied. The plot is painfully slow-paced and the fact that the filmmakers mistook Rebecca’s sociopathic tendencies for bipolar disorder displays an offensively severe lack of effort on their part. Also, since it is rated PG-13, there is next to no actual violence in the film. As a result, any and all traces of thrills and suspense are completely eliminated, making the plot even less bearable.
The film’s acting is as dismal as its writing. Kelly comes across as nothing more than a total airhead in her role as Sara, and Meester is notably dry as Rebecca. The rest of the cast is equally terrible, with Gigandet and Michalka prominently displaying their apparent lack of acting skills as Stephen and Tracy, respectively. Rounding out the awful cast are the sleazy Professor Roberts (Billy Zane, "Titanic"), Sara’s best friend, Irene (Danneel Harris, TV’s "One Tree Hill"), and her ex-boyfriend, Jason (Matt Lanter, "Vampires Suck").
If there is anything positive to be said about the film, it is that it only has a running time of 93 minutes, so unlucky audiences will only have to put up with this piece of garbage for a little over an hour and a half. That said, no self-respecting college student, or any human being in general for that matter should touch this film with a 20-foot pole. This is definitely one film that moviegoers will want to steer clear of no matter what.