Obsessed (2009)

Directed by: Steve Shill

Premise: A successful executive (Idris Elba) becomes the object of desire for a delusional young temp (Ali Larter). As her obsession grows, she disrupts his family life and his career.

What Works: Early on in the picture, Obsessed does a nice job as the relationship between Elba and Larter’s characters begins and the two walk the line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Actress Ali Larter does a fine job with this early material, making her character attractive but also vulnerable.

What Doesn’t: While it gets off to a good start, Obsessed quickly gets itself into trouble. There is a misogynistic streak to this film in its portrayal of women and gender relations. Obsessed is a half-hearted imitation of Fatal Attractionbut where that film made its story about choices and their consequences, Obsessed plays the man as an innocent victim and the women as combative, predatory creatures. With the right cast and a cheeky attitude, Obsessed could have a guilty pleasure much like Wild Things but this film takes itself far too seriously, apparently believing it’s a serious drama when in fact it is a twisted version of a misogynistic male fantasy; in Obsessed the man is a victim because of his success, good looks, and charm and eventually his wife (Beyonce Knowles) and the temp slug it out over him in a screaming, hair pulling fight that looks like belongs in a Girls Gone Wild video. As the wife, actress Beyonce Knowles is problematic. For most of the film her character is left at home with her infant son doing various domestic things but nothing important to the story or to her character. But in the last third of the film Knowles' character is suddenly pushed to the front while her husband stays in the background, where he doesn’t do much of anything. This makes no narrative sense and can only be explained by a desire to see superstar Knowles in a catfight with another attractive woman.

Bottom Line: Obsessed is an ugly little movie and were it not for the presence of Beyonce Knowles it is unlikely that it would have seen the light of day. As it is, it’s not even quality trash.

 

Episode: #238 (May 10, 2009)