Obsessed is certainly not a movie to get obsessed about. That is to say that it is not likely to land on the Academy Awards Committee's radar screen, nor will it make film aficionados forget about the definitive, obsessed-other-woman film Fatal Attraction.
However, that does not make it a bad film, just not a great one. It is a solid cinematic effort that gives a different twist to the obsessed other woman story line, making her the worst nightmare of a truly faithful husband, here played capably by Idris Elba.
In his portrayal of executive vice president Derek Carter - the target of the obsessed fixation of a temp secretary named Lisa, played by Ali Larter - female film lovers might find Elba to be a figure of strapping handsomeness. But his acting - and that of Larter - merely carries the roles adequately in a way that their starring presences do not hinder the story. But neither actor overly impresses.
The same cannot be said his wife in the film, played convincingly by the singer-turned-actress Beyoncé Knowles. After a less than impressive acting turn in Dreamgirls, Beyoncé rebounded with her Cadillac Records role as the singer Etta James in arguably the most memorable performance of that film. In her Obsessed role of Sharon Carter, Beyoncé gives a credible portrayal of Derek's wife, a woman who has to work through the conflicted emotions that entail in trying to figure out whether her husband's fidelity is for real. Beyoncé is also up to the physical demands of her fight scene encounter with the obsessed other woman.
In her Cadillac Records and Obsessed roles, it is clear that her ability to project emotions when singing have served her well as an actress. She also has a no-nonsense articulation that makes her character's showdown with the demented Lisa a good casting fit. Unfortunately, you have to wait until the second half of the film before Beyoncé really gets to make a convincing case that she is a big screen real deal.
As an excruciating movie in which one must suffer through the undeserved vexing of Derek, it may not be an enjoyable film through the first half. But once the marital issues surface - such as honesty and trust - the plot establishes much firmer and purposeful footing. The sexual chemistry between Elba and Beyoncé married characters is only a scant notch above lukewarm credibility, but the movie's plot is not reliant upon a stronger intimate connection between the two.
For many, the highlight may be watching Beyoncé kick some butt in the film's climatic end. Director Steve Shill, who does a good job advancing the story with good pacing and a minimum of implausibility, allows Beyoncé to assert herself physically without making her an unbelievable female weapon of destruction.
The 120-minute film is rated PG-13 with mild sexual content and profanity.