Review in a Hurry: Spotted. Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester getting her crazy on as the roommate from hell to her new BFF, Friday Night Lights' Minka Kelly. Let the battle of the TV hotties begin! If you can go with this Single White Female 2.0 as the trash that it is, there's fun times to be had. Just be sure to hide any rabbits kittens!
The Bigger Picture: Sara Matthews (Kelly) is a freshman at the fictional University of Los Angeles. She's studying fashion and as luck would have it, her new dorm-mate Rebecca (Meester) is a local from Beverly Hills who has a closet full of designer outfits. But when it comes time to share like all roomies do, Rebecca keeps her secret journal close while trying to "borrow" everything from Sara. Perhaps someone is getting a little obsessed?
A locket Sara has from her deceased sister? Gone. And some hand drawn sketches of Sara by Rebecca? On almost every wall. All that's needed is a defenseless animal. Oh, found: a kitten named Cuddles.
Although The Roommate is clearly an update of SWF, the dorm setting is more effective than the original's spacious Manhattan apartment. We all know someone who's suddenly thrown into a tight living space with a person who quickly becomes less than ideal.
For most, the worst a new roomie does is steal your food, clothes, or space. Not terrorize your other friends in the community showers by ripping out their pierced naval rings.
Plot wise, the script is super generic, but the first act, as the two coeds get to know one another, moves at a nice pace.
Letting us empathize with Rebecca--at least in the beginning--helps. We feel for her outsider situation. While Sara and the rest of the students are The CW-cool, Rebecca is seen as too Plain Jane. True, giving Rebecca mousy hair really can't hide how naturally good-looking Leighton Meester is--but the actress sells it.
The supporting cast is a who's-who of TV's "it" teens: there's the Hellcats gal (Alyson Michalka), the dude from The OC and Twilight (Cam Gigandet), and in a brief cameo that girl from The Vampire Diaries (Nina Dobrev). It's all just stunt casting, though, since these types of stories are really only about two people. Every other role is merely peripheral.
Thankfully, both Meester and Kelly deliver.
Meester has the more showy role with nearly every scene featuring her staring crazily at Kelly. (But what a stare!) By the third time you see her looking nuts unintentional laughter will ensue but that's why this works. It SHOULD be pretty silly. Meester knows this and could have just played everything for camp, but every so often she spouts these Fatal Attraction-like "I won't be ignored!" quips and it's genuinely creepy.
Kelly has the less fun part, but she's extremely likable and yes, very easy on the eyes. (Esquire named her the "sexiest woman alive" for 2010.)
The final showdown has enough hair pulling, name-calling and general chaos to satisfy those who know what to expect.
A future drinking game that calls out every deranged glance that Rebecca gives Sara will delight coeds everywhere.
The 180--a Second Opinion: Still, there was a time when Hollywood knew that guilty pleasures like this should be R-rated not PG-13. What's the point of having a roommate go psycho if you don't get to witness all the gory details?