Obsessed: Foxy Cleopatra vs. Whip-Cream Bikini Girl 

click to enlarge Beyoncé Knowles in Obsessed
  • Beyoncé Knowles in Obsessed

The contrived workplace-stalker "thriller" Obsessed is a profitable little pit stop for its two talented leads, Beyoncé Knowles and Idris Elba; a pinnacle of sorts for TV and PG-13 bad girl Ali Larter; and a movie so clearly destined for heavy rotation on the Lifetime Movie Network that I kept waiting for the filmmakers to cut away to a Weight Watchers ad.

Think I'm joking? Feast your eyes on the plot synopsis for The Perfect Assistant, which aired on Lifetime last Sunday night:

"Rachel (Josie Davis) is the perfect assistant to her boss, Paul (Chris Potter). But in the process of assisting Paul, she's fallen hopelessly in love with him. She's never acted on her feelings because Paul is married to a beautiful woman named Carmen and has a young daughter. But when Carmen contracts encephalitis, an impatient Rachel begins to feel that this is her chance to show Paul that she should be the one he comes home to every night ... Paul welcomes her help, unknowingly fostering a growing obsession in Rachel that will ultimately end in disaster."

Put Elba in the Paul role, add Larter as a crazier, sexier, more dangerous temp, cast a bored, worrisome Beyoncé as Elba's wife, and give them a son instead of a daughter (but hold the encephalitis, please), and you have last weekend's dubious box-office champion.

Questions and concerns about technique or meaning are simply inappropriate for shrink-wrapped convenience-store cinema like this: The film is so staid and styleless in its acting, screenplay, lighting, and story that if you're trying to evaluate it by traditional good-movie criteria like intensity, complexity, or originality, it quickly starts to bore you. Dust off the bad-movie scorecard, though, and the subtle pleasures creep into view.

Take Matthew Humphreys' turn as Elba's gay assistant, Patrick. Humphreys spikes his small, clichéd part with toxic, volatile doses of rage and resentment. He plays Patrick with an expressionless, boiling fury that scalds any actor who crosses his path. He's by far the most compelling presence in the film.

But aside from an unusual bit part, enjoyable bad movies better have something else in store: a wildly inappropriate tone shift, an unexpectedly cerebral line of dialogue slipped in by a sneaky script doctor, perhaps a surreal plot twist that defies conventional genre expectations. Obsessed's improbable plot twist starts looking pretty tasty once Beyoncé leaves a threatening phone message to Larter that ends with the words, "Try me, bitch!" The pulse quickens: Will these girls meet again and fight to the death?

The answer: You bet. The girl-on-girl action at the climax of Obsessed is not bad, as Beyoncé balances on shaky attic support beams in high heels while Larter lunges at her with a two-by-four, flashing her lacy black panties at every tumble. The three-story house where the battle rages grows as tall as the Chrysler Building during their death-defying duel, and as the glass table in the living room waits patiently for one of the combatants to shatter it, well, that's almost entertainment.


Now playing

Multiple locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • Ingrid Goes West

      Audrey Plaza’s Instagram envy turns toxic in this sharp, entertaining satire.
    • It

      The atmospheric Stephen King adaptation of your nightmares.
    • Outflix Film Festival 2017

      The Homegrown Festival Marks Twenty years of Bringing LBGTQ Films To The Mid-South


Beyond the Arc

Deflections: The Roster, TV Angst, and The Buy/Sell Clause

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

The Vietnam War

We Saw You

Cooper-Young Fest, Big Bugs, Art of Caring

Music Blog

Linda Heck: Bound to ExCITM tonight

Intermission Impossible

A Memory of Charles Billings

Tiger Blue

Three Thoughts on Tiger Football

News Blog

Layoffs Again Hit Commercial Appeal Newsroom


More by Addison Engelking

Readers also liked…

© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation