Review of Obsessed


Rating: PG-13
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: April 24, 2009
Directed by: Steve Shill
Genre: Drama/Thriller

"Obsessed" is an American film starring Ali Larter, Beyoncé Knowles, and Idris Elba. The producer is William Packer, and the film is distributed by Screen Gems. David Loughery developed the screenplay from an idea by Clint Culpepper, president of Screen Gems.

Derek Charles (Idris Elba) is a vice president for the finance company Gage Bendix. He is married to Sharon (Beyoncé Knowles) and has a son with her named Kyle (Nathan Myers and Nicolas Myers). Derek meets Lisa Sheridan (Ali Larter), an office temp at Gage Bendix, and they begin casually flirting with each other. Lisa attempts to seduce Derek, but he consistently rejects her advances. The situation begins to boil when Lisa tries to have sex with Derek at a company Christmas party to which spouses were not invited.

Derek takes proper action: He reports Lisa for sexual harassment. However, the human resources manager at his company informs him that Lisa has already quit. Derek later attends a business conference at a resort, only to discover that Lisa is also staying there. Lisa spikes his drink, which partially incapacitates Derek, and kisses him in his hotel room. Later that day, she tries to commit suicide and afterward claims that she and Derek are having an affair.

Detective Monica Reese (Christine Lahti) is investigating Lisa's suicide attempt and begins to believe in Derek's claims of innocence. However, Sharon believes Lisa and throws Derek out of their house. Later, Derek and Sharon go out while attempting to reconcile, and Lisa gets into their house by tricking their babysitter (Scout Taylor-Compton). They find out that Kyle is missing from his crib when they return home, only to discover him in the back seat of their second car. They also find that Lisa has ransacked their bedroom and cut out Sharon's face in family pictures.

Derek and Sharon set out to leave town to get away from Lisa, but Sharon realizes she has not set their house alarm and returns home, only to discover that Lisa is already in the master bedroom. Sharon tries to call the police, but Lisa tackles her, knocking her unconscious. Derek calls the house and Lisa answers, prompting him to alert Detective Reese. Meanwhile, Sharon regains consciousness and begins fighting Lisa again. The fight ends when Sharon throws Lisa over the railing, which kills her. Derek and Detective Reese arrived at the house immediately after Lisa dies.

The storyline in "Obsessed" is credible, while still giving the audience plenty of opportunities to scream at every outrageous attempt by Lisa to steal Derek away from Sharon. Shill emphasizes Derek and Sharon's idyllic life by showing their beautiful house, cars, and baby. An early romantic scene also shows them making love on the carpet in front of the fireplace while R&B music plays in the background.

Ali Larter performs her role well with a duplicitous nature that will be familiar to fans of her role as Niki Sanders on the television science-fiction series "Heroes." "Obsessed" shows the faithful wife Sharon as more sexually desirable than the obsessed Lisa in a manner that reminds the audience of the 1999 erotic thriller "Eyes Wide Shut." However, the PG-13 rating means that most of the sex in "Obsession" takes place offscreen. Jerry O'Connell and Bruce McGill provide solid supporting performances as Derek's hedonistic cohorts.

Lisa's scheming in the first half of the film is relatively innocent, with Derek largely avoiding her temptations. However, it is soon apparent that Lisa is obsessed with Derek when she begins to insert herself into his life by prying information about him from Derek's gay assistant (Matthew Humphreys). Director Shill shows how disturbed Lisa actually is when she aggressively molests him at the Christmas party and then drugs him at the business conference.

Sharon shows her assertive side in the second half of the film when she throws Derek out of the house, thinking that he has been unfaithful with Lisa. She then begins rehabilitating him with tough love over the course of three months before taking him back. This sets up the final fight scene, which the audience will be clamoring for at this point. The fight between Sharon and Lisa is very well choreographed and believable. Many critics consider this scene to be the best girl fight of 2009. The final scene of Derek and Sharon embracing while Lisa's body lies on the floor shows the restoration of the couple's upper middle-class life.

Tags: Obsessed