Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 17
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

THE THREE CORNERS OF THE TRIANGLE MEET AT LAST: Derek Charles (Idris Elba, left) and his wife Sharon (Beyoncé, right) are in the midst of an intimate tete-a-tete in his office when they are interrupted by Lisa Sheridan (Ali Larter), who it turns out is stalking Derek, apparently in an attempt to break up his marriage and home life.

Obsessed: Temp Stalks Boss in Harrowing Psychological Thriller

Kam Williams

Derek Charles (Idris Elba) was on top of the world after having recently been promoted to Executive Vice President at Gage Bendix, a Los Angeles investment house. As a result, the asset manager, who is deeply in love with his beautiful wife Sharon (Beyoncé) and their adorable young son Kyle (played by Nathan and Nicolas Myers), had just purchased a sprawling house in the suburbs.

However, Derek has no idea that their dream life is about to change into a nightmare the fateful morning he crosses paths with Lisa Sheridan (Ali Larter), an attractive stranger who flirts with him on the elevator on his way to work. They exit together on his floor where, to his surprise, he discovers that she has been assigned by her temp agency to fill in for his secretary Patrick (Matthew Humphreys), who’s home sick with the flu.

Derek knows that this arrangement won’t sit well with Sharon whom he’d promised that he’d never hire another female assistant because their love had blossomed out of an office romance. Against his better judgment, he not only lets Lisa stay for the rest of the day, but even allows her to remain with the firm even after Patrick returns from sick leave.

Meanwhile, Lisa’s inappropriate behavior gradually escalates from crying on Derek’s shoulder, to cornering him for a kiss under the mistletoe at the company Christmas party, to following him into the men’s room, to trying to seduce him in the parking garage, and more. Inexplicably, Derek is either too polite, too flattered, or too dense (or maybe a combination of all of the above), to fire Lisa on the spot. Instead, he recklessly risks both his career and his marriage by failing to tell his wife or his boss (Bruce McGill) that Lisa is stalking him.

Superficially, the plotline of Obsessed reads like a thinly disguised remake of Fatal Attraction. From the suicidal woman, the kidnapping of Derek’s son, his wife’s being forced to take the law into her own hands, or Lisa having nine lives in the climactic finale, the story often looks like a line-by-line copy of the older film.

Nonetheless, the three principal cast members throw themselves into their respective roles with such gusto that they generate a palpable tension which makes the movie feel fresh and exciting. Idris Elba plays his character convincingly, while Beyoncé is convincing as the doubting spouse who has serious trust issues. However, Ali Larter, as the home wrecking Lisa, steals the movie by portraying a woman so despicable you’ll be cheering when she finally gets her comeuppance.

A reminder that hell still hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially when she’s a two faced psychopathic woman.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence, suggestive dialogue, and mature themes. Running time: 105 minutes. Studio: Screen Gems.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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