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Directed by Steve Shill.
Written by David Loughery.
Starring Idris Elba, Beyoncé Knowles, Ali Larter and Jerry O'Connell.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  5/4/09


Let's be honest--I saw the new thriller "Obsessed" because a) I think Beyoncé Knowles is hot, and b) I love Idris Elba, who played Stringer Bell in "The Wire."  I only saw one trailer and knew it could be dogshit (although not a guarantee); the movie was not great, but for reasons that I didn't see coming.

I thought this would be about how a married successful financial services executive named Derek (Elba) would be tempted by...a hot temptress (Ali Larter), who just recently started work as a temp at Derek's offices.  I thought there would be an element of yeah-he's-interested-but-he's-got-a-family mixed with some nasty catfight action with Derek's wife (Knowles).  In theory, that IS what the movie is about...but, that is all that the movie is about.  Here's what I mean--we meet Derek and his wife Sharon, they've just moved into a nice home outside of L.A., they are clearly loaded, happy, new parents, the perfect couple.  That's scene one and two.  In scene three we meet the temp; she's clearly weird, obsessive, hot, and working right outside of Derek's office.  Scene four, Sharon meets the temp and clearly doesn't like that she's hot...scene five, the temp starts her aggressive pursuit of Derek.

And then, from there, it's all one-note stuff--the temp goes crazy for Derek, Derek tries to ward off the temp, Sharon spends most of her time angry but alternates between Derek and the temp.  Jerry O'Connell plays the throwaway role of Derek's best friend, just to make sure someone other than the three leads has a speaking part.

I'll admit that the film's last ten minutes made me laugh and I wish I had seen it in a crowded theater.  The soundtrack was also good, and even though I'm straight, I could watch Elba walk around in a shirt and tie all day.  Here's what was weird--I really think this is the first time I thought Beyoncé was NOT hot; in fact (don't tell her I said this), I thought she looked a little chunky, a little Janet Jackson right now.  I thought that the Larter character would have been more interesting if she had not been totally insane and delusion; she's like a cartoon character the way she goes all psycho in "Obsessed", where I thought that a needy white girl would have done the trick just fine.  The reactions of everyone here just feel like the hopped-up, all-anger sequences in movies like "Revolutionary Road", where every moment is this heightened emotional the time Sharon wants Derek to move out at the first hint that he may or may not have cheated on her with the temp, I had my arms in the air in mock surprise.

Again, I thought this wouldn't be great, but I still ran out to see it...sigh.  I need to be smarter this summer movie season to stick to the basics--action, comedy, horror.  I won't even watch this when it starts airing ad nauseam on TNT in two years.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 05/04/09