Monday, August 9, 2010

Predictable "Obsessed" has too few guilty pleasures

Obsessed (2009) 
105 min., rated PG-13.
Grade: C 

You don't even have to watch the trailer (which spells it all out anyway) to know that the mundanely titled "Obsessed" is a predictable gloss on "Fatal Attraction," "The Crush," "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," "Disclosure," "The Temp," and many more where those came from. If you've never seen a movie before, then everything in "Obsessed" may surprise you. But doesn't Lifetime play these kinds of stalker movies for free? 

Sultry blonde Ali Larter plays Lisa, a hot office temp who isn't even off at the twenty-second floor before she's already set her voracious eyes on Derek (Idris Elba), a Los Angeles asset broker. He's attractive, intelligent, happily married to the former lead singer of Destiny's Child, er Derek's former assistant Sharon (Beyonce Knowles), and with a baby son—the perfect man—and would give Denzel Washington a run for his money. And they've just moved into a stately, affluent house with a creaky attic and a chandelier with a glass-top table set directly beneath it (this is called foreshadowing people!). Slinky Lisa flirts with Derek, listens in on his calls with Sharon, nearly rapes him at the work Christmas Party in the men's bathroom stall, gives him a lingerie peep show in the parking garage, among other things that a skinny, psychotic bee-yotch would do. Oh no she didn't! Derek knows she's a delusional, completely off-her-rocker homewrecker and stalker, but no other white person sees it that way, of course. And when Derek doesn't want her, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

This month's psycho-thriller has too few guilty pleasures to make it trashy fun (what, there's no oral sex in the elevator?). And if you can't piece together the blanks that Steve Shill's blatantly obvious direction so generously telegraphs, the climactic slug-it-out cat fight right out of "Dynasty" won't be totally foreseeable. But there is some over-the-top, crowd-cheering entertainment value in watching a zinger-spoutin' Knowles kickin' some crazy white girl ass, in stiletto boots no less ... you go girl! Larter gives her stock psycho Lisa a credible craziness and alluring sex appeal that would make any man with a beating heart give in to temptation. 

Elba is acceptably cast, and Knowles' sass is more than welcome as the diva-housewife but you wonder why she took this project and also executive produced it. Speaking of, what is such a smart and talented actress as Christine Lahti doing here in a throwaway role as a police investigator? Production values are slick, but James Dooley's overripe music cues hiss, crash, and are supposed to have us in suspense, and a freeze-frame conclusion cued to Beyonce's ending credits song “Smash into You” suggests the movie to be more dramatic than it really was. 

One half-hour episode of VH1's “Rock of Love” with Brett Michaels and his entourage of tattooed sluts contains more surprising trash than all 105 minutes of "Obsessed." 

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