Most of us have been stuck with a totally incompatible roomie at one point. Which is why it won't be difficult to sympathize with actress Minka Kelly in "The Roommate," opening today.
Kelly plays a college freshman randomly assigned a dorm-room partner (Leighton Meester) who turns out to be a psychopath obsessed with Kelly’s character and her friends. And when those friends start turning up dead ... well, you can sort of guess the rest. Moving to different university housing is the least of Kelly’s problems.
“The Roommate” is far from the first film to deal with roomies whose cosmic differences create issues. Here are some of Hollywood’s roommates from hell:
The Odd Couple (1968): Neil Simon’s classic play is the quintessential mismatched-roommates flick. Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) is a total slob. Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon) is a neat freak. They room together when Felix’s wife kicks him out and he has nowhere to go. A big mistake at first, but the boys finally reach some sort of accommodation. The basic concept was so successful, it was spun off into a hit TV series starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, a female stage version with Sally Struthers and Rita Moreno, and a TV series with a black cast headed by Ron Glass and Demond Wilson.
M*A*S*H (1970): A Bible-thumping prig and a barely competent surgeon, Maj. Frank Burns (Robert Duvall) is not exactly the kind of guy rebellious womanizers “Hawkeye” Pierce (Donald Sutherland), “Duke” Forrest (Tom Skerritt) and “Trapper” John McIntyre (Elliott Gould) want to share a tent with during the Korean War. They go out of their way to taunt Burns and drive him crazy.
Carnal Knowledge (1971): Maybe it’s not a good idea to have Jack Nicholson as a roommate. In this classic directed by Mike Nichols, Nicholson is a swaggering horndog who beds Candice Bergen, the woman college roomie Art Garfunkel has the hots for.
Apartment Zero (1988): Emotionally constipated movie buff Colin Firth rents a room to free-spirited Hart Bochner. Bochner charms everyone he meets, but wait – could he be a serial killer? Inquiring minds want to know.
Single White Female (1992): Bridget Fonda puts an ad in the paper looking for a “single white female” roommate to replace the boyfriend she’s just left. Shy Jennifer Jason Leigh answers the ad, and seems to be perfect. Oops, turns out she’s perfectly psychotic.
My Best Friend’s Girl (2008): Another example of “be careful what you wish for.” In this case, Jason Biggs asks roomie Dane Cook, who specializes in taking girls on bad dates to make the guys who pine for them look good, to ask out cutie Kate Hudson. Predictably, Hudson eventually falls for Cook, leaving poor Biggs out in the cold. Ouch.
Love and Other Drugs (2010): Porn-obsessed loser Josh Gad moves in with brother Jake Gyllenhaal after his wife throws him out. Gyllenhaal is in the midst of a relationship with Anne Hathaway, and it seems every time she turns up at his apartment, tubby bro Gad is in his skivvies or a bathrobe.