Roman (2006)

Roman watches television.

Roman watches television.

Lucky McKee’s May is without a doubt one of my favorite horror movies. The more stuff of his that I watch, the more I dig: Sick Girl, All Cheerleaders Die and The Woman are all great too. So it was only a matter of time before we finally watched Roman, which has McKee not only writing but also starring, with Angela Bettis of May fame behind the camera this time. The switcheroo bears interesting, if somewhat frustrating fruit.

Roman (McKee) is a welder by day and a lurker by night. The masculine dudes he works with poke fun at him while at the lunch table, mocking his lack of a television and his inability to join in on regular guy conversations. At home, Roman sits by the window with a beer, a cigarette, and a longing to see the girl next door (Kristen Bell) pick up her mail. One day, Roman changes it up a bit and has his beer and ciggy outside. This turns out to be a decision that will change Roman’s life forever, because Dream Girl just happens by and asks for a drink.

Boy oh boy Roman sure does love his Dream Woman.

Boy oh boy Roman sure does love his Dream Woman.

Well, one thing leads to another and eventually they’re back in Roman’s apartment. But awkward dudes are awkward, and Dream Girls never really know how to deal with that, so she tries to leave. Roman’s emotions take over and, well, things don’t end well. That doesn’t necessarily mean Roman’s not going to pursue a relationship with this lovely lady, though…

Suddenly, Roman seems to open up. The guys at work are noticing a difference, even beyond the fact that all he’s eating these days is canned pork and beans. There’s even a new girl he’s started seeing, who might be just as batshit weird as he is. Maybe even weirder. Awkward guys never had it so good!

Roman is almost like May in reverse. This time, it’s the lonely, awkward guy who has to work hard to “make” new friends. And like May’s, Roman’s world is made up of largely imagined relationships. When they get real, shit gets dangerous. The real difference is, unlike May, Roman actually finds someone who is more fucked up than he is.

Roman loves picnics in the park.

Roman loves picnics in the park.

I have to admit, this movie frustrated me a little bit. I’m all for low-budget flicks, but sometimes a movie is almost too low budget for me to fully enjoy. I kind of felt like that with Roman. It just looks shitty to a distracting degree. It also moves at a glacial pace and seems as though they’re trying to stretch material that would work better for a short film into a feature-length deal. All that being said, in retrospect I think I enjoyed this a lot more than I felt like I did right after I watched it. I guess perhaps it takes a little time to digest. It’s definitely a rare occasion for me to say something like this, but I think it could be polished up and repackaged into a prettier picture someday, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing. But if you like McKee’s and Bettis’s work, this is still worth a watch, for sure.


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