When successful financial advisor Derek Charles (Idris Elba) settles into a new Los Angeles neighborhood with his loving wife Sharon(Beyonce Knowles) and young son Kyle, everything seems perfect. But when a beautiful temp, Lisa (Ali Larter), joins the firm, Derek's life takes a strange turn. After a misunderstood encounter at the company holiday party, Lisa begins to spiral out of control - putting Derek's career in jeopardy and Sharon's marriage and life on the line.
Obsessed is one of those movies best described as “a stylish thriller”: the characters are mostly young and gorgeous, with their white-collar gigs, designer duds, and fancy cars, and if there’s not much of substance to be found beneath those sleek, polished surfaces, well, who says a story must have a message to be entertaining? The comparisons to Fatal Attraction (with its jilted would-be lover going all psycho on the object of her, uh, affections) and Disclosure (with its reverse sexual harassment) are apt enough, but Obsessed is a little different. For starters, unlike the character played by Michael Douglas in Attraction, this film’s Derek Charles (Idris Elba) does little to encourage Lisa Sheridan (Ali Larter), the temp worker at his asset-management firm who gloms onto him like a lamprey sucking on its unwilling host; for another, Derek’s wife, Sharon (Beyonce Knowles), is no wallflower who stands idly and ignorantly by while her life is shredded by her hubby’s evasions and the increasingly crazed tactics of the woman who’s stalking him (it’s to the credit of director Steve Shill and screenwriter David Loughery that nothing whatsoever is made of the fact that Derek is black and Lisa is white). Still, the holes in the plot are big enough to drive several Mercedes sedans through. For one thing, Lisa’s fixation on Derek seems to come out of nowhere (if she has a past, we’re not told about it); what's more, even if Derek has broken his deal with Sharon not to have any female assistants (she was once one herself), it seems mighty extreme for her to kick him out of the house for three months simply for not coming completely clean about his mostly-innocent dealings with Lisa. Still, the film manages to make the viewer feel Derek’s helpless desperation at being targeted by this manipulative nut job, and when Sharon finally confronts her family’s tormentor at the end (“You think you’re crazy? I’ll show you crazy!”), the result is silly but somehow satisfying. --Sam Graham