Obsessed (2009)

It’s the Plot Outline that Would Not Die: Hotshot young newly-married businessman draws the attention of an Office Hottie, Office Hottie turns out to be crazy stalker, marital problems arise, stalker goes even CRAZIER. This neatly summarizes a baffling number of films, almost all uniformly lousy, descending in an unbroken line from an insanely-overrated 80s potboiler called “Fatal Attraction.” “Obsessed” doesn’t do a damn thing to change up the gameplan, and it doesn’t even have the balls for any murdered pets of even actual infidelity. OH! Except for one thing: Our good-guy married couple (Idris Elba and Beyonce Knowles) happen to be black, and stalker gal (Ali Larter) happens to be white. And leggy. And blonde. Yeah. Well, if nothing else, I’ve gotta hand it to whoever in the production had the solid exploitation-flick sense to get that this seemingly simple wrinkle would be all it’d take to turn an otherwise unremarkable “Attraction”-rip into potential of-the-moment blockbuster: It’s “Oh No She Di’int! – The Movie.”

Too bad it sucks regardless, huh?

Aside from the respectably unexpected note that no one IN the film makes any reference to (or seems otherwise aware of) the racial-tension “hook” at play, there’s not a single new idea or noteworthy moment to be had in what finally adds up to 2 hours of filler in between an “Oooooh….” setup and the innevitable “take THAT, bitch!!!” finale. I’m at least compelled to salute the film for, if nothing else, offering up a rare unironic portrayal of an upscale black couple… even if the “hook” means that they still ultimately give the only interesting role to the white girl. Ah, well.

Structurally, it’s something of a mess suggesting heavy post-production tinkering: The P.O.V. belongs to Elba’s hapless husband character for the entire first two acts, relegating Knowles to a one note second-fiddle for almost the whole story… which, of course, serves to make the third act – where Elba suddenly turns innefectual and is hustled quickly offscreen so that the two ladies can slug it out after Beyonce’s out-of-nowhere metamorphosis into the Avenging Angel of Wronged Black Womanhood (“You think you crazy? I’ll SHOW ya’ CRAAAAZY!” she headbounce-and-spits into the phone) – seem abrupt and out of sync.

No need to bother, really.

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