With the early box office numbers projecting a clear and easy path to number one for the Beyonce Knowles project, Obsessed, it's now safe to label this movie the worst pop cultural event of the year... thus far.
Forget the poor film making for a moment (director Steve Shill is a veteran TV director, and it shows), for as a product, Obsessed is that rare thing, a misogynistic thriller-drama aimed toward a female target audience. And yes, you may blame Beyonce and her father, Matthew, for this abomination. The talented pop singer has previously proven herself to be a not-so-bad actress, but Obsessed is simply a vehicle, pushed by herself and her father, to let the megastar's "crazy bitch" flag fly in the film's final ten-minute free for all.
In fact, "Dumb, Crazy Bitches" would have been a more fitting title for Obsessed. The movie's other leading lady, Ali Larter (the Joey Lauren Adams of the '00s), plays Lisa, a nympho-sociopath with an alpha male itch to scratch upon temping for the ladder climbing hunk, Dereck (Idris Elba ... this guy needs a new agent: in the last year he's been in Prom Night, The Unborn, and Obsessed, all zeros) at a hedge fund firm. Meanwhile, Dereck winds up in the middle of a Jerry Springer-esque love pickle, making beau coup duckets by the bucket while "dumb bitch" Lisa and "crazy bitch" Sharon pull hair over the handsome guy. To make matters worse, Dereck didn't even do anything to warrant Sharon's crowd-pleasing, ghettofied "get out my house!" rant. This moment only aids in reinforcing black female stereotypes, and nothing else.
What a rotten spectacle this rotten movie is for the young ladies of America to set their eyes upon. Yep, somehow Obsessed scored itself that box-office tripling PG-13 rating. Well, we know how and why it did, but if the irresponsible marketing of such high-grade trash to our pre-teen youth doesn't tick you off, then the fact that movies like Happy-Go-Lucky, The Fall, or Adventureland waste away in two-week-run hell with their R ratings ought to. What's more infuriating (and disappointing) is that Beyonce has had a record of putting out fun, feet-friendly, female-empowering singles from "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name" to "Irreplaceable" and "Single Ladies". Yet with Obsessed, she seems privy to put on a "Ruffneck" persona.
I suppose a rental of this movie with a lover or a friend might bring for some casually enjoyable mocking or makeshift drinking games, but there truly isn't even a redemptive so-bad-its-good quality to Obsessed. Some may feel the urge to say that Obsessed recalls the early 90's "obsession" movies of The Hand that Rocks the Cradle or Single White Female, but even while it's been fifteen years since my pre-critical brain saw either one of those movies, I feel comfortable giving the gas face to that type of comparison. Plus, Ali Larter just poofs dry clouds of anti-sexuality throughout this movie. Even a bizarre looking Glenn Close can achieve a raw sexiness by channeling some creepy crawly come-ons, but Larter still preens like the shaving cream girl from Varsity Blues.
The only joy I got from Obsessed was a recurring personal giggle from the name of one of the characters, Joe Gage. That may mean nothing to you wholesome folks, but Google El Paso Trucking Co. privately at home, one day (definitely AT HOME, not at work), and you will understand. Sure, I've gone completely off the tracks here with this review, but it's only in staying loyal and in line with the spirit of the film. Would you rather I type out more plot points? Or do you really need to know why Jerry O'Connell gives the best performance in the film? Well... by all means, don't trust me, go see Obsessed. Go see it and report back to me so I can pad my comments. But at least believe me enough to bring a scratch pad or wear loose pants so you can diddle with your balls once the boredom sets in.