Christian E. Christiansen
Billed as a sexy suspenseful thriller THE ROOMMATE rarely had me on the edge of my seat or titillated. I don't think it is the acting or writing that is to blame, although those are lacking, but something fundamentally wrong with the movies direction. It seems that director Christian E. Christiansen (Yeah, that's his name) had no concept of what makes a good thriller and any momentum that may have been in the script or performances just fall flat in the final product. It is his first directorial effort, however, and hopefully it was a great learning experience for him I just don't think thrillers are going to be his genre. That said Leighton Meester pulls off the psychotic roommate character pretty well and there were a couple of scenes that were just unsettling enough in their believability but on the whole it is mediocre.
This story may not be a fresh one (SINGLE WHITE FEMALE anyone?) but it lacks even the bare minimum suspense to hook in a viewer. The plot is a foregone conclusion and any twists are seen from a mile away through some large plot holes and a severe lack of depth or originality. There are a few gasp worthy moments, but it is only a smattering of cheap thrills and that does not a thriller make.
As much credit that I want to give to Meester for her earnestly crazed performance Minka Kelly (Sara) sucks it all away with a dull almost phoned-in one. The only other performance,which I thoroughly enjoyed, was Billy Zane's all too brief turn as a pervy fashion professor. Yes, Zane as a college professor ... for fashion, it is as ridiculous as it is awesome.
For all of its failings there is one that truly stands out, THE ROOMMATE was just too tame. It had ample potential to just go balls out but it opted for a safer route that took what could have been a passable story of suspense and paranoia and turned it into 91 minutes of me looking at my watch. It simply felt like a neutered PG-13 flick that could have been a competent R-rated one, but at least there is eye candy.
Deleted and Alternate Scenes
"Obsession": The Making of THE ROOMMATE featurette
THE ROOMMATE: The Next Generation of Stars featurette
Note to self: Never, ever get a belly-button ring. Ever.