Horror review: The Roommate

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 7, 2011

By Steve Newton

I make a point of not watching trailers for movies I intend to review, hoping to save a few surprises for the theatre itself. If one comes on the TV at home, I look away and plug my ears, and if my wife is in the room, I ask her not to give anything away. She’s pretty good about that, although after multiple unwanted viewings of the trailer for The Roommate, she couldn’t help mentioning the plethora of “eye candy” on display.

Turns out it’s the film’s raison d’être.

Eye Candy No. 1 takes the shape of stunning Minka Kelly, who plays Sara, a freshman at the University of L.A. who looks like a more wholesome version of Megan Fox. Eye Candy No. 2 is Leighton Meester of TV’s Gossip Girl, who resembles Alicia Silverstone without the pout. As titular villain Rebecca, Meester riffs on Silverstone’s breakthrough role in The Crush as a rebuffed teenager obsessed with a journalist twice her age.

The difference is that, not big on men, Rebecca sets her psychotic sights on new dormitory mate Sara, and God help anyone who interferes. First to raise the roommate’s ire is party girl Tracy (Alyson Michalka, Eye Candy No. 3), who leaves Sara stranded at a bar because some guy “had a Porsche and a hot tub!”.

Others in the line of fire include Sara’s sleazy design prof (Billy Zane), her hunky new boyfriend (Twilight’s Cam Gigandet), and even the stray kitten that she rescues. Befitting first-time screenwriter Sonny Mallhi’s skill at character development, you’ll care most about the plight of Cuddles.

The eye-candy factor intensifies with some lightweight girl-on-girl interaction, and there’s the obligatory cat fight, if you’re into that sort of thing. But it’s hardly worth sticking around for the routine climax of this toothless thriller just to see the ocular sweets get all chewed up and mangled.

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