When successful financial advisor Derek Charles (Idris Elba) settles into a new Los Angeles neighborhood with his loving wife Sharon (Beyonce Knowles) and young son Kyle, everything seems perfect. But when a beautiful temp, Lisa (Ali Larter), joins the firm, Derek's life takes a strange turn. After a misunderstood encounter at the company holiday party, Lisa begins to spiral out of control - putting Derek's career in jeopardy and Sharon's marriage and life on the line.
There was one reason and one reason only why this film was made- Beyonce Knowles. Without the star, it’s unlikely this dull film would ever have seen the light of day. Indeed, "Obsessed" immediately draws comparisons to "Fatal Attraction"- except that what suspense and sensuality the latter movie had is surprisingly devoid in the former.
Of course, race is another big difference in this movie. Instead of Michael Douglas and Anne Heche’s perfect white family, here Idris Elba and Beyonce Knowles play the perfect black couple whose lives are shattered by a sultry white temp-tress. If its very premise sounds exploitative, it is. "Obsessed" screams white woman here to break up perfect black family, and writer David Loughery’s story (who also penned the racially themed drama "Lakeview Terrace") has about the depth of a shallow pool.
But even if one tries to forget how miserably "Obsessed" plays the race card, there’s no ignoring the lack of tension build throughout the movie. Director Steve Shill doesn’t know his way around a psychological thriller although he tries to build one through said temp and sex kitten, Lisa (played by Ali Larter). Had he known, Shill would have built a more convincing character with at least a hint of motivation. Instead, one gets nary a hint of understanding why Lisa is so obsessed with Idris Elba’s tall, handsome, successful banker Derek Charles- other than the fact that he is tall, handsome and successful.
As if realizing that its audience is probably bored two-thirds into the movie, "Obsessed" suddenly places Beyonce Knowles’ loving wife Sharon front and centre at the last third. Under the guise of protecting her family, Knowles turns from docile mother to teeth-gritted and eyes-steeled woman warrior- just in time for its absurd finale where Knowles goes head to head with Ali Larter in a laughable cat-fight.
By that time, "Obsessed" has long outstayed its welcome, and not even the 10-min extended sequence of Beyonce kicking the ass of a blonde, white girl redeems the interminable bore of a wait. Larter is no Glenn Close, and her portrayal of Lisa doesn’t even quite scratch the surface of Close’s in "Fatal Attraction". Equally insignificant is Elba, since the film was intended to be built around Knowles. But even if you’re a fan of Knowles, you’re better off watching one of her energetic concerts than this drab mess.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Playing Together Nicely: A behind-the-scenes look at how the movie came to be (as an idea from studio head of Screen Gems), the casting (yes, we get that it was great Beyonce came on board) and the on-set shooting process (Beyonce, yet again).
Girl Fight: Stunt coordinator Lance Gilbert gives us a detailed breakdown of how the climactic scene at the end of the movie came to be.
Dressed to Kill: Beyonce’s costumes took a lot of planning, apparently. Besides that, production designer Jon Gary Steele and costume designer Maya Lieberman also talk about the look of the movie.
Image is sharp and clear, with no visible grains throughout. The Dolby 5.1 audio track is only good for ambient sounds, so don’t expect much for this talky picture.
by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 3 November 2009