Written by: David Loughery
Directed by: Steve Shill
I don’t really have an explanation for this movie being on my list. I put it in my Instant Queue on Xbox, so my guess is I got drunk one night and thought it would be a funny thing to watch sometime. Rule #1, kids: Don’t drink and browse.
“Obsessed” opens with a happy couple, Derek (Idris Elba) and Sharon (Beyonce “Beyonce” Knowles), giddily surveying their new house. They do all the things you’d expect new homeowners to do: wander the halls in amazement, check out the bedrooms, check the attic for weak spots in the floor to insure that they don’t come crashing through the ceiling onto their strategically placed glass coffee table. You know, things that will not, in any way, pay off later in the movie.
Derek is a high-powered finance guru who works in either downtown Los Angeles or Century City - the establishing shots change too often to know for sure. His wife Sharon stays home and takes care of their young son while also studying to go back to school to earn a degree in finance as well. Sharon used to be Derek’s personal assistant, before he swept her off her feet. Derek’s new assistant is Patrick, who’s a ‘Hollywood’ gay man - a stereotypical effeminate ‘girlfriend’ who can’t open his mouth without gossip spilling out.
Enter Lisa, played by Ali Larter. Lisa is what clinical psychiatrists would call a ‘crazy bitch.’ She meets Charles in the elevator and the crazy practically seeps out of her eyeballs from second one. The wandering eyes, the searing sexual intensity. Any normal married man would have hit the emergency stop button right then and there and escaped, John McClane-style, through that ceiling escape hatch that all movie elevators have.
But Derek doesn’t do that because this movie requires him to be stupid. Amazingly, frustratingly, ferociously stupid. Look, I get it. You meet a cute girl on the elevator, that’s fine. She ends up working in your office, okay. She starts filling in for your personal assistant? A little weird. She starts showing up everywhere you go? Time to get concerned. Traps you in a bathroom stall and tries to force herself on you? Time to tell the wife. Waits for you in the parking garage so she can jump in your car wearing lingerie? Time to call the police. Drugs you, tries to rape you, then tells the staff at a hotel that she’s your wife? Time to Jesus Christ, why are you reading this?! She’s crazy! RUN!!!
But Derek does none of this, preferring to, oh so retardedly, handle things himself. I guess I can’t blame him. He has precious few confidantes. The most logical one is Sharon. Derek almost tells her, but then he learns that her sister’s husband just got caught in an affair at work, so he backs off. I guess there’s some kind of guilt by association (of circumstance?) there. His best friend (Jerry O’Connell) and boss (Bruce McGill) would be next on the list, but they’re primarily occupied by booze and the promise of lap dances throughout the film. (Sample line: “Who wants to see some hot, oily breasts being jammed into their faces?” Didn’t make that up) And we’ve established that he can’t call the cops because the movie won’t work if he’s not a moron.
We all know where this road ends: with your psychotic wannabe mistress staging a suicide attempt naked in your hotel room. Which further results in your wife angrily demanding to know why you didn’t trust her with your problems, right before she throws you out of the house before hearing your side of the story.
Have I mentioned how long this movie is? Almost two hours. Two hours. Most stories have a three-act structure. This movie is broken into three acts as well - kind of. There’s Act I (Derek meets Lisa, she’s kinda freaky). Act II (Lisa outs herself as psychotic, Derek tells no one). Following that, we have Act IIa (see Act II), Act IIb (see Act II), Act IIc (see Act II), etc. And Act III (Beyonce and Ali Larter beat the shit out of each other - aka, the entire reason anyone watched this movie in the first place).
Yes, the action climax of “Obsessed” is the inevitable smackdown between Lisa and Sharon in the suburban couple’s home. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you think the weak ceiling and glass coffee table don’t come into play, you know less about screenwriting than the writer of this movie (and that’s saying something).
“Obsessed” is underwritten, over-performed and repetitive. It requires every single one of its characters to make choices that no logical human being, nay - mammal, would ever make. All of the events require the characters to be stupid. And it ends on a damned freeze frame, a technique that hasn’t been cool since “Rocky.” The first one. Needless to say, this movie doesn’t have much going for it. But it did win the 2010 MTV Movie Award for Best Fight. So I guess that’s something.