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April 26, 2009 - Ken Womack
Obsessed *

You don’t mess with Beyoncé Knowles. Consider yourself warned.

But in all truth, you shouldn’t mess with her latest film, Obsessed, either. Audiences should avoid this schlock-fest like the proverbial plague.

Directed by Steve Shill, Obsessed stars the recording diva as Sharon Charles, the beautiful, adoring wife of Derek Charles (Idris Elba), a hugely successful asset manager who seems to be on the verge, business-wise, of bigger and better things. With their toddler son and a luxurious new home in tow, Sharon and Derek seem to have it all—that is, until a sexy new temp infiltrates Derek’s life and threatens to leave him in ruins.

In a role straight out of some kind of low-rent Fatal Attraction, the delectable Lisa (Ali Larter) invades the asset firm and sets her sights on Derek. Lisa stalks her prey with an obviousness that borders on the ridiculous, hanging out in bars, parking garages, and even in the men’s room in a desperate effort to lure Derek away from Sharon.

Obsessed would make sense—at least on a literal level—if there were anything between Lisa and Derek, if there were any romantic sparks between them. But instead, we’re supposed to believe that their would-be relationship exists entirely in Lisa’s addled brain—a plot contrivance that lacks any genuine degree of reality.

Indeed, much of the plot of Obsessed consists of a befuddled Derek wondering when his nightmare will end, never resorting to the 911 call or the restraining order that might just save his marriage—not to mention his life—before it’s too late.

In its clunky, predictable way, the movie builds up to a showdown between Lisa and Sharon, a female duel to the death in order to fight for Derek’s love. When the battle finally arrives, it hardly disappoints, with Beyoncé putting up her dukes with the best of them. Unfortunately, by this point Obsessed has gone straight from the land of dire seriousness into a world in which irony and silliness rule the day.

When it finally comes, Lisa and Sharon’s physical bout elicits sounds of laughter, rather than suspense, from the audience. As a movie, Obsessed is no different, stumbling its way to the end through one implausible plot device after another.

Save your money, my friends, and purchase Beyoncé’s new album, I Am . . . Sasha Fierce, instead. As albums go, it’s an obsession worth having.


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