movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Obsessed

 (12A)
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  Obsessed Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
 
Average Rating
2.88 /10
 
Starring
Idris Elba, Beyonce Knowles, Ali Larter
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Steve Shill
Written by: David Loughery

 
 
 
Released: 2009
   
Genre: SO BAD
THRILLER
   
Origin: US
   
Colour: C
   
Length: 108
 
 


 
Horrid, hackneyed and half-witted – and probably a hit.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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So bad it’s perversely enjoyable, Obsessed is a deliriously dumb, catastrophically clumsy rehash of Fatal Attraction. It makes even less effort than its predecessor to understand the mindset of its loopy female villain, whose entire personality can be summarised as the Office Temp From Hell.

Blonde beauty Lisa (played by Ali Larter, pictured centre, from TV’s Heroes) is trouble from the first moment we see her in the office elevator, baring her perfect teeth at our hunky, Afro-American hero, Jerry O’Connell (Idris Elba, pictured left). Before long, she’s being gratuitously bitchy to Jerry’s beautiful, black wife (Beyonce Knowles, pictured right). She throws herself at Jerry at the office Christmas party, steps uninvited into his Merc and reveals her Victoria’s Secrets, then spikes his drink at a working retreat at a luxury hotel.

Poor old Jerry seems too slow to tie his own shoelaces, let alone be a successful businessman. But he’s such a saint that he doesn’t give in to loony Lisa’s enticements – at least, I don’t think so. Possibly in an effort to avoid even a 15 certificate, the story-telling becomes ridiculously unclear on this important point.

We don’t even know what happens when Lisa gives him a date-rape drug and clambers on top of him in his hotel room. Do they have sex? Does he fall asleep? Do they play Scrabble?

At least Michael Douglas had some seriously steamy sex before his affair went pear-shaped, and the bunny-boiling began. And Glenn Close’s harpie from hell had good reason to feel like a woman scorned.

Lisa is a mesmerisingly misogynistic creation: dead behind the eyes throughout. She has no motivation, no back story and the sexual sophistication of a praying mantis on heat.

Just as deliciously trashy – though I have a horrible feeling it doesn’t mean to be - is the police subplot. After one of the characters tries to commit suicide, a detective (Christine Lahti) is inexplicably assigned to the case. Even though no crime has been committed, she then finds endless time to interview the characters, hang around and turn up slightly too late for the climax and ask the heroine if she’s okay. Even if you’re not fully up to speed on police procedure, my guess is that you’ll still find this ludicrous.

Idris Elba is British, though you wouldn’t know it, and provides a pleasant solidity to a character who’s much too good to be even half-true. However, he’s so self-effacing that eventually he fades out of the movie so that superstar Beyonce can strut her stuff.

Beyonce showed in Cadillac Records that she can act, but here she doesn’t need to do more than look pretty and fight back in defence of husband, child and home. It might help if Beyonce would remember to turn on the burglar alarm occasionally, or brief the babysitter that a madwoman is stalking the family, or remember to hit that shiny new panic button to call the police when she’s being attacked, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Anyway, if she didn’t behave like an idiot throughout, we wouldn’t have a film.

Her job, heavily foreshadowed from the start, is to turn mediaeval on the villainess’s “skinny white ass” in the final reel, with wives in the audience roaring her on.

Permeating the whole farrago, though it’s never discussed, is the issue of race. Screenwriter David Loughery doesn’t care to explore the racial politics, but he does exploit them in a thoroughly distasteful manner - which is part of the reason why the movie has done surprisingly well in America.

It’s cynically calculated to cash in on the resentment of black women who feel that white girls are taking all the best black guys – and, conversely, it appeals to black men who resent white men making off with all the tastiest black women. It’s unpleasantly racist, but since the racism is towards white people, apparently that’s acceptable.


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