Sony // 2005 // 93 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // October 21st, 2005
A roommate with killer instincts.
Take another look at the title of this movie. There you go. You just saved yourself 93 minutes of your life.
Woman's boyfriend cheats on her with her roommate. Woman gets new roommate. New roommate turns out to be a psycho. Hair gets dyed. Clothes get borrowed without permission. Boyfriend gets molested. Boyfriend takes a blow to the head. Heroine and psycho roommate have a bloody showdown.
Yeah, it's pretty much the same damn movie all over again.
I cannot believe anyone was hoping this movie would get made. The original Single White Female is by no means a great film, but it's a classic compared to this worthless direct-to-video sequel. What made the first flick noteworthy was its pedigree; it had a capable cast and director, which helped elevate it above the norm of its genre (although I cannot help but think it helped lead to the serious nosedive in Barbet Schroeder's career). This movie, on the other hand...Well, this one was directed by the same guy who made the Greg Kinnear bomb A Smile Like Yours and stars the type of people who would actually be excited to be featured in something titled Single White Female 2: The Psycho. Talk about a downturn in quality.
The script for this flick was cooked up by the same trio who wrote Wild Things 2 and Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough (they must be Sony's go-to guys when it comes to screenplays for sequels nobody wants). As was the case with those direct-to-video pieces of junk, the story here does nothing more than recycle the elements of the original film. Smart, headstrong, and successful career woman for a heroine? Check. Cheating boyfriend? Check. Heroine looking for a new apartment? Check. Sweet, caring, and meek potential roommate? Check. New roommate experienced psychological trauma and a devastating loss in her past? Check. New roommate starts borrowing heroine's clothes? Check. New roommate dyes her hair to match that of heroine? Check. IQ of smart, headstrong, and successful heroine drops fifty points midway through the movie? Check. Heroine tries to reconcile with boyfriend? Check. New roommate goes on killing spree in order to have heroine all to herself? Check. Climax involving confrontation in basement of apartment building? Check. No one who has seen the first movie will be surprised by anything that happens here. In fact, there won't be any surprises for anyone who hasn't seen the first movie. Every plot point is telegraphed well ahead of time. Even Syd Field could see these twists coming a mile away.
Barbet Schroeder brought a fair amount of style to the original. When it comes to style, the sequel looks like something you might run across on Cinemax at three in the morning (minus the gratuitous nudity that makes late-night Cinemax fare watchable). Director Keith Samples has the visual sense of a wet cardboard box. He nails the camera to the floor and employs the old point-and-shoot method. He also blows the pacing; this movie creeps along like a Pacer without an engine. The running time is a scant 93 minutes, but it seems like the movie runs twice that. As for the cast, well, let's take a look at what you get. Taking the Bridget Fonda role is Kristen Miller, who is probably best known for her role in She Spies. Featured in the Jennifer Jason Leigh role is Allison Lange, who isn't known for anything. Taking the Steven Weber role is some guy named Todd Babcock, who was in the Whoopi Goldberg classic Theodore Rex. Rounding out the leads is Brooke Burns, who plays the character who backstabs Miller's character and sleeps with Babcock. You might remember Burns (or at least her toothy grin) from her stint on Baywatch, or perhaps from her hosting duties on Dog Eat Dog. Not exactly a stellar cast, is it? I could not decide if they were all sleepwalking, playing down to the material, or if they simply do not have any talent, although I am leaning towards the third option. (Burns actually expects us take her seriously just because she chopped off most of her hair and dyed it black. Yeah, okay.)
The technical aspects of the disc do nothing to belie its straight-to-video pedigree. The transfer is acceptable; there is nothing really special about it, nor are there any major defects. While at times the transfer is clear, sharp, and detailed, the image quality in a few scenes is a little too soft for my tastes, but this appears to be at least partially intentional. There is also some noticeable grain in a few darker scenes, but it never becomes intrusive. The audio fares slightly better than the video; dialogue is always clear and intelligible, and there is some good use of the surround channels (mainly for the shock moments dropped into Steven Stern's derivative score). The only extras are previews for other Sony releases, including one for the Lou Diamond Phillips epic Murder at the Presidio. Can't wait for that one!
Second verse, same as the first. It's the original movie minus all of the good stuff. You've been warned.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated