Making the Grades
Starting the stampede of stereotypes is the small town girl from the Midwest who arrives in the big city to study at the fictitious Los Angeles University. No sooner does Sara (Minka Kelly) get her suitcase unpacked when down-the-hall girl Tracy (Alyson Michalka) shows up and demands she come and party hearty. Off to the frat house they go, where sweet Sara doesn't know the punch is spiked and Tracy pulls up her shirt for all the boys to see (we are blocked from the full view). In this nest of mayhem, we meet Stephen (Cam Gigandet), a smooth talking nice guy who we know will be saving Sara's life before the end of the movie.
Arising late the next day with a horrendous hangover, Sara finally meets Rebecca (Leighton Meester), her roommate. She immediately exhibits obvious signs of being evil: she's rich, comes from Beverly Hills (a reported 20 minute drive from the dorm) and she hates her parents. The script also wastes no time implying she's likely certifiably psychotic in other ways too, like the very cold, hard stare she gives Tracy on their first introduction.
Next, we have the obligatory sexy girl in the shower scene -- a sure indication something bad is about to happen. The camera manages to photograph Tracy's body in every PG-13 acceptable angle, including her navel ring, which is forcibly removed by her attacker.
Strangely Tracy never calls the campus cops or anyone else about the incident. She just simply moves to another address. But we know Rebecca isn't done. Her instant and unmotivated possessiveness for Sara boils over again when Sara's off-campus friend, Irene (Danneel Harris), invites her to move in and leave the dorm life behind. And then there's the naughty design teacher, Professor Roberts (Billy Zane), who exchanges kisses with students. He should be old enough to know when he's dealing with a zombie girl who is going to turn his life into a nightmare.
Squarely targeted at teen audiences dreaming of a post secondary experience as exciting as this one, The Roommate offers very little scare, or intelligence, for your dollars. Physical altercations often involve weapons, such as a knife and a gun. These depictions include some blood effects and result in injuries and death. In one scene, a girl bruises and cuts herself in what amounts to a desperate act of wanting attention. A kitten also becomes part of the murderous plot after it's placed in a laundry dryer. And, typical for portrayals of campus life in the movies, these characters are quick to engage in heterosexual and homosexual relationships -- although no details are seen onscreen, As well, alcohol is appears to be a main food group. Frequent profanities, scatological expletives and terms of deity pepper the script.
Certain to haunt the dusty discount shelves of video stores for years to come, The Roommate will likely move out of the limelight by the end of this semester.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Roommate.
This university campus is depicted as having a priority on drinking and sex, while little emphasis is placed on education. Is this a common depiction of college life in movies? How does this compare with your own post secondary experiences?