Director: Steve Shill
Cast: Idris Elba, Beyonce Knowles, Ali Larter,
Bruce McGill, Jerry O'Connell, Christine Lahti
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com.sg/movies/obsessed/landing_site/index.html
Opening Day: 9 July 2009
Charles (Idris Elba), a successful asset manager who has just
received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career
and in his marriage to the beautiful Sharon (Beyoncé
Knowles). But when Lisa (Ali Larter), a temp worker, starts
stalking Derek, all the things he's worked so hard for are
placed in jeopardy.
If a man doesn't have the looks, money, or power, I guess he won't face the kind of situation seen in the film, where a hot, nubile young blonde just fantasizes about being together forever with you. Gee, that sounded like some bad lyrics, and Obsessed tried very hard to be the new age Fatal Attraction, where we have a man fitting the all of the above criteria, having on one hand his hot wife, and the other an opportunity getting it on with the office temp worker, with the risk of losing everything he has in life thus far.
It's a no-brainer on what that choice is, though the film by director Steve Shill just takes forever to get to the point, and meanders around some really banal situations. The setting up for the fall is quite uninspiring, as it just dwells on the bland come-hithers with hiked skirts showing a lot of thigh, or a smile and a wink that's more than meets the eye. Ali Larter plays a temp-tress, in a role that puts temporary workers in a somewhat demeaning light, having in one sweeping statement state they move from office to office looking for a target men, likely to be big guns in corporations where they can be set for life should they take the bait.
For couple Derek (Idris Elba) and Sharon (Beyonce Knowles), this is something of a little nightmare for them, and highlights their insecurities. I thought this part of the story was quite OK, given the theme of what goes around that comes around. You see, Sharon was once a temp under Derek, and before long they're tying the knot with kid in tow. But this sense of insecurity also meant having to draw up some unconventional pre-nuptials that his subsequent secretaries are strictly non-females, and the abiding husband complies, only for Larter's Lisa to engineer her way around office politics, in order to try and fuel some office infidelity.
But then here's where it all fell short. Lisa has no clear motivation other than to scheme to be with the man of her desires and fantasies. Even so, her half-baked attempts all seem to make her a laughable self-delusional psychotic, living in her own world that Derek has some permanent hots for her. Her modus operandi is quite childish and leaves you questioning why she didn't opt for more conventional blackmail weapons, like pictures and video tapes at least. What's worse was her seduction tactics. Ali Larter may be a good looker, but seriously, the wardrobe department here failed to dress her up in va-va-voom fashion, but also partly because Larter probably decided to play it safe. In a pivotal scene where she's supposed to show all like a flasher, out comes an ugly bra and granny-sized undies that you'll scream to have them covered up as well, like Derek did.
How did Beyonce Knowles fare in her first starring role that didn't require her to sing? I thought there could be more room to showcase her acting chops, but apparently the story by David Loughery turned her Sharon from meek housewife to mega-witch in a split second, fighting not for her man, but personal wounded pride. Then it decided to hold some of it back just because Beyonce is Beyonce with an image to maintain. It's quite a hoot to watch her thrash-talk a lot while dishing out some serious punishment to her rival, but the novelty wears out after a while, especially since the cat-fight took so long to declare a victor.
No surprises, no tension, and totally devoid of sexiness, Fatal Attraction this is not, and plays out more like the childish Swimfan rather than an adult tale of unrequited lust. And it just drags on in duration like some clingy girlfriend who can't take no for an answer, and cut short its loss.
(A laughable high school infatuation)
Review by Stefan Shih