The Roommate fails to make the grade

Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester star in The Roommate

Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester star in The Roommate

For fear of sounding vanilla, I don’t want to call The Roommate this generation’s version of Single White Female (or, for that matter, to brand it SWF: The College Years), but in all honesty, I pretty much have to. This is a remake — and we’ll be kind to label it with that term as opposed to rip-off — without actually billing itself as such.

Minka Kelly plays a freshman college student whose roommate (Leighton Meester) becomes her BFF all too easy. It turns out her buddy is a schizophrenic, forming an unnatural attraction towards her. And, without giving away a whole slew of spoilers, you pretty much know what that means: boyfriend (Cam Gigandet) in peril, the usual ‘ouch’ moments as Meester marks her territory (how the Saw folks somehow didn’t think of a torn belly ring is beyond me), etc., etc.

If you’re hoping The Roommate will spill over into the so-bad-it’s-good lane … uh, nope. I don’t think director Christian E. Christiansen, making his English-language film debut, loses anything in translation here. He’s just plain lazy on this one. His flick is horribly clichéd and it’s inept. The suspense is so ineffectual, it’s laughable and unfortunately, not in a good way.

The cast is here because of looks, that much is obvious. As far as terrifying goes, Meester is one notch above Cuddles the Kitten, a fellow cast mate. But at least she seems to be trying. Kelly just plain looks bored. Not commendable, but at least I can relate with it.

Out of a possible five stars, I’ll give The Roommate a one. The feature is coming soon to the Pen-Mar Cinema Centre in Penticton.

Jason Armstrong is a movie reviewer living in the Okanagan.