An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis

            Why does watching “Obsessed” feel like sneaking a peek at the headlines of the National Enquirer in the checkout line? The answer is that one big casting mistake can turn any movie into a joke or a bore. This one is too scary to be a bore, but it comes perilously close to being a joke. Let’s start with the story.

            The story is just fine for a premise dipped in horror. Stalking is a grisly fact of modern crime and this is a crime movie based on the obsession of one woman for her boss. At the office Christmas party, Lisa (Ali Larter), a new temp=2 0at the company is crying in her cubicle after being dumped by her boyfriend – or so it seems. Her boss, Derek (Idris Elba), comforts her with kindly encouragement.

            For a few tense moments we wonder whether it will be Derek or Lisa who will be the villain of the piece. The answer explodes into the office air. Derek is a good, decent man thoroughly committed to his wife and son and wants only to go home. Using Glenn Close’s “Fatal Attraction” as her template, Lisa indulges herself for the rest of the movie in flagrant, flamboyant craziness that is so exaggerated we are embarrassed for the actress and her interpretation of her role.

            Neither his colleagues nor Human Resources nor the police can save poor Derek from this sick woman. Back home, wife Sharon (Beyonce Knowles), is forced to marinate herself in jealous fury. It’s a thankless, one-note role for Beyonce who can’t find a way to throw some seasonings into the mix. In the early scenes of20the happy marriage, she is adequate, but her screaming, distrustful wife grows tiresome within minutes. What does happen though is that, contrary to the mild Hollywood catfight tradition, the two women go at each other in ferocious fury. What weapon was on the wall in Act I? Well, consider the glass coffee table and the skylight.

            Christine Lahti brings sanity to this mess as a detective assigned to decide who’s nuts. It’s nice to have her stabilizing influence but her role as Reese is given little influence on the story or the characters. All the power to disrupt and destroy is handed to Ali Larter’s Lisa and she so overdoes it she surely would have been sent to the lock up. She manipulates every moment, jumping into Derek’s car and throwing open her coat to reveal, guess what, a bikini. But it isn’t so much these old hat tricks that disturb, it’s the mental illness behind it. Stalkers seem to believe they have a right to their prey and that, all by itself, is terrifying.

            The only memorable thing here is the acting of Idris Elba and a twist near the end that leaves the audience breathless, if insulted, for roughly two minutes. Unfortunately, this movie is trash and doesn’t even qualify as a guilty pleasure.


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