Sara Matthews (Kelly) is starting her freshman year at ULA, and with that first year at college comes a multitude of both thrilling and frightening challenges, including boozing it up at frat parties, student-teacher indiscretions – and shacking up with a homicidal-maniac roommate (Meester). Amidst the fun and general debauchery, fast-friend and new roommate Rebecca has developed a spontaneous, inexplicable obsession with Sara – one that quickly turns as violently tedious as Kelly’s perpetual, inane simper and her character’s apparent obliviousness to the roomie’s derangement. At some overdue point, Sara awakens from her mental coma and begins to suspect that Rebecca is a few spanners short of a toolbox. Suffice it to say, what follows is approximately one hour and 25 minutes of lesbian overtones, hackneyed scene set-ups and Meester’s psycho-pantomime effectively eclipsing both Kelly and any semblance of a valid plotline into unadulterated insignificance.
Meester is indeed well-versed in extreme characterisation, best-known for her resident TV role as a conceited, vengeful and highly paranoid débutante. But while it is the vacuous Gossip Girl that is responsible for meticulously honing her skills for brainless theatrics, it is The Roommate that has succeeded in showcasing the totality of Meester’s artistry for all it’s worth, in a flourishing apotheosis of bad acting and worse histrionics. Her performance as a spoiled and dangerously imbalanced non compos fluctuates between an excruciating Mommie Dearest mimicry of psychosis and a nauseating, glazed-over vapidity; every affectation is seasoned with an indigestible petulance, reminiscent of her Upper East Side GG character but far less intelligent.
That being said, it does feel minutely unjust to heap all of The Roommate‘s dreadful inadequacies upon Meester’s already burdened shoulders. The storyline plays out like a Cluedo game for unimaginative college drop-outs: Meester in the shower with a sharp instrument. Meester in the bedroom with a blunt instrument. Meester in the shadows with a shadowy intrument. The co-stars/characters are equally dim-witted, undeveloped facsimiles, the likes of which we are only too happy to see exterminated at the undefined-object-wielding hands of Meester. The closest thing to a climax is a bellyring-extraction scene in which blood does not feature and shock barely registers – those involved are of little importance – the actual fulcrum being Meester, in a room, with an implement.
Admittedly, Meester doesn’t have much to work with, but the little she does have, she ham-fists the hell out of. It’s a tortuous chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, the conclusion of which is that in today’s substanceless landscape of mass-marketing, both products have been rendered useless, if not toxic to our health; neither Meester nor The Roommate can sustain us with any food for thought. Ironically set within an institute of higher learning, the story assumes limited comprehension and undeveloped taste, the most frightening thing about the idiotic Roommate being that by sheer comparison it makes the pseudo-wit and partner-swapping convolutions of Gossip Girl‘s teleplay read like a Brontë novel. For the target demographic, the film is either a consummate insult, or a terrible omen portending the future of our youth.
A suspenseless, insipid piece of drivel, The Roommate‘s bankability rides solely upon prime-time, pubescent celebrity, mindless consumption and girl-on-girl tease. The tagline for the promotional poster poses the question: “2000 colleges. 8 million roommates. Which one will you get?” Answer: the worst one, apparently.