Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crazy In Love (but not with this movie)

Since seeing the trailer for Obsessed back in 2009, I've pretty much been convinced this Beyonce-powered Fatal Attraction rip-off was, in all likelihood, the best thing every made by human hands. It's a sad day when I learned otherwise.

Quick Plot: This is the story of Derek Charles (The Wire's Idris Elba, who will forever be known as Stringer Bell, will thus be referred to as Stringer Bell for the remainder of this review. I suppose by remainder, I mean whole thing).
Anyway, Stringer is a successful vice president of something at a coolly lit office somewhere in LA. Back at his new home, wife Sharon (Beyonce Knowles; remember, if it’s a serious movie, her roles are not played by the singer Beyonce, but by the actress, Beyonce Knowles...even though she sings on the soundtrack) spends most of the day not really fixing up the new digs and playing with baby boy. Life is filled with financial security, loving glances, and smooth R&B infused montages of happiness.

Cut to a meet-cute elevator encounter with Stringer and Ali Larter’s Lisa, a hot pantyhose-less temp eager to take his calls.
Literally, because she quickly ascends to serve as his makeshift secretary, a minor problem since Stringer had previously promised Sharon he’d only hire men for the job. Discrimination? Sure, but also some marital safety since the last femme to fix his coffee was none other than Sharon herself.

Naturally, Sharon has all the reason in the world to worry since Lisa turns out to be nothing less than a complete psychopath with the libido of Pepe Le Pieux. Luckily for Sharon, Stringer Bell is a loyal family man, something he’s quick to tell Lisa, sexist coworker Jerry O’Connell, Lisa, detective Christine Lahti, Lisa, Sharon, and Lisa, all about 35 times in the course of the film. 

And therein lies the biggest issue I had with what is otherwise not nearly as trashy a film as I was hoping: not once in Obsessed do we ever believe Stringer Bell will give in to the blond beauty thrusting herself at him with more earnestness than Nomi Malone. Not when she’s trying her damnest to fellate him at a Christmas party. Not when she’s clad in lingerie in the front seat of his car. Not when she’s wearing a dress straight from Kira Knightly’s closet in Atonement and slipping him Roofies at a tropical work getaway. This is a good, if rather daft and dull man and as a result, all we get to do is watch a strong well-dressed executive try his best to not touch a woman dry humping him at every turn.

Yes, there is some joyful bitch slapping catfighting rounding out the finale and yes, it’s the highlight of an otherwise inert film. At the same time, it’s not like we really know a single interesting fact about Sharon or Lisa to actually care about the outcome. Sharon is a married woman and mother. She wears colorful clothing and has big hair. Lisa is a crazy blond. She dresses like a skank and drinks dirty martinis. 

Whose side are we on? Wake me up when we care.
High Points
Larter doesn’t come near capturing a smidgen of the talent of Glenn Close, but the sheer ridiculousness of her character at least makes Lisa the most interesting thing onscreen

Low Points
So the day before I watched this film, I caught D.C. Cab, a truly joyful 1983 romp with not a single limit. You know what it DID have? A montage. An effing amazing montage. You know what Obsessed has? Two montages. A quiet, happy-family-move-in montage and another, Daddy-playing-with-kid-while-Mommy-watches-from-window montage, both with less pulse than a zombie flea.
Aside from the final countdown and a few random moments of embarrassing failed seductions, about 97 minutes of this 108 minute film

Lessons Learned
Cosmos will buy you all the info you need on the boss of a bitchy gay man
No matter what the film or target audience may be, Scout Taylor Compton remains a babysitter you should never trust with your children’s lives

The good ones are always married. Or straight. Or, one might assume, both.
Attractive women make popular additions to male-dominated offices. While this isn’t really a surprise, it is rather jarring to hear every heterosexual male in a suit comment so crassly on the newest employee

This is one of those days when I say a small prayer to the gods of Netflix for putting the right films on Instant Watch. I was truly excited to seeing Obsessed--one might go as far to say I was obsessed with seeing Obsessed, which would not be true but it would be exciting to say--and my hopes were dashed by the late night cable feel of a minor dud. There’s some fun to be had for sure, particularly in a bitchin’ girl fight and Beyonce Knowles’ attempt to be badass. Overall though, Obsessed doesn’t quite commit to the trashiness it wants to assume. 


  1. I was truly disappointed that it wasn't worse...
    I watched it though. The whole thing. In one sitting. What does that say about me? I love instant watch!

  2. It says you and I are Instant Watch soulmates, that's what!

  3. I had also hoped that it would be a bit trashier, but was pleased with what I got. It probably should have been direct to video to start with, but a least I didn't shell out theater money for this one.

    The catfights sold me on it, but I don't know if I would ever watch it again. Maybe one more time, I really dislike Ali Larter.

  4. The ending was such a let down and so anti-climactic. I'd like to see a little more blood a roughing up. Ali Larter makes my teeth sweat.

  5. Larter definitely has a better agent than talent, but I found the ridiculousness of her character fun. A better actress would probably have found more notes to play or gone more intense, but I was entertained slightly.

    I too wanted a bigger ending. It was certainly the film's highlight, but I was hoping for something more, like earring pulling, family heirloom breaking, teeth bashing, SOMETHING!

    Oddly enough I can almost imagine a straight-to-DVD sequel with lesser known celebrities being a really good time.

  6. This was a big letdown for me, too. Seeing the trailers, I got really jazzed to see a film bring back that late '80s/early '90s-style of psycho thriller. But like you say, this just wasn't trashy enough. Way too tepid for a movie called 'Obsessed.'

  7. Right? Give me Wild Things threesomes or Sean Young shenanigans. This felt tamer than a LIfetime movie.

  8. DC CAB?????????? OMG, Lady, you are a woman after my heart. My brothers and I spent one long summer day with that movie, hitting rewind and starting it all over again when it was done at LEAST three times. then we all went into the back yard running around yelling, 'Bruce Lee! Bruce Lee! I see that Karate Mother F*cker'!!!!

    Also, the montage rules, as does the taxi cab parade at the end! Because who wouldn't heart the shit out of a taxi cab parade in their town!

  9. I WISH I knew about this movie as a kid! I only learned about it from The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema and was thrilled to find it on Instant Watch. Joyous, truly joyous. Bring on the parade and picks!