Obsessed (2009) (PG-13) ★★★

Review Date: April 24th, 2009


Derek Charles has a beautiful wife, beautiful new son, beautiful home and a promotion in a big job, but his life is turned inside out when he encounters his attractive temp — as in temptress — assistant, Lisa, who has designs on him and tries to get him to reciprocate. His resistance only increases her efforts as she becomes the stalker from hell, throwing his marriage and career into complete chaos … unless he can stop her fanatical ''obsession.''


As Derek, the nice guy whose life spirals out of control after a temp stakes a claim on his affections, Idris Elba comes off as passive and confused — no match for either a defiant Beyonce Knowles as his wife or Ali Larter (Heroes) as the psychotic maneater who tries to rock his world with everything this side of boiling bunnies. Both stars get a chance to shine before meeting up in a memorable showdown right out of the Fatal Attraction playbook. Larter is sexy, seductive and disturbed all at once, perfectly capturing the fragile state of a delusional woman in heat. Knowles, who previously showed off her acting chops in musicals like Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records really gets to go for the dramatics in Obsessed — and delivers. She does contribute an end title song appropriately called ''Smash Into You,'' aptly describing what she (and her stunt woman) pull off in style in the film's big climactic scene. Also worth mentioning are Jerry O'Connell as Derek's office buddy and Matthew Humphreys as his efficious gay assistant who likes to spread the office gossip. Christine Lahti however is saddled with a thankless role as a rather clueless detective — this fine actress deserves better.


Those who go in checking their brain at the box office might find this paint-by-numbers scenario crudely entertaining even in its utter predictability. It's well-played if totally over the top, but hey, isn't that what we want from this stuff?


Start with credibility. There isn't any. It takes a full 80 minutes before anyone utters the phrase ''restraining order,'' and the frustration builds while watching a nice, innocent guy become such a wuss at the hands of his sexually off-balance temp. Of course, if he came clean about the situation and called the police, the movie would be over in the first 20 minutes. So, suspending belief is a must here. It's interesting to note that considering the casting of Beyonce and blonde goddess Larter as the women at the heart of this triangle, those expecting what has been buzzed as a ''black Fatal Attraction'' will find there is not even a single line referring to the racially mixed nature of the relationships.


Beyonce gets the film's best line in a take-no-prisoners moment when she leaves a message on the nutcase's answering machine: ''You think YOU'RE crazy? I'll show you CRAZY. Just try me bitch!''


A well-written hospital scene where Derek gets grilled by a detective and his wife at the same time. This will teach every guy to 'fess up before it all goes bad.


Multiplex. The crowd reaction during the finale is part of the fun. But despite the surprisingly generous PG-13 rating, definitely leave the kids with the babysitter.

Hollywood.com rated this film 3 stars.