By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fatal Attraction "lite" too risque for young teens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film includes plenty of gender stereotyping. For instance, one man says that "single gals consider work their hunting grounds," implying that women are more interested in snagging a husband than succeeding profesionally. There's really no positive take-away to be found.
Positive Role Models
Poor role models include libidinous male executives who talk about their female coworkers' bodies and an office gossip who doesn't think twice about revealing personal information about his boss' life ... not to mention Lisa herself, who pursues Derek at all costs. On the plus side, Derek's character defies certain established Hollywood stereotypes by being an African-American executive who's loyal to his family.
Violence & Scariness
Until the climactic fight scene (which is an all-out tussle with lots of pushing, hair grabbing, punching, and kicking), there's not much violence per se, but there's a lot of stalking and sexual harassment.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple embraces and discusses "christening" their new house. Lisa flirts with Derek, showing some leg and bantering playfully. As she becomes obsessed, she aggressively throws herself at him, trying to unbuckle his pants and kiss him. On other occasions, she finds him and reveals that she's wearing nothing but lingerie, spikes his drink with a drug and climbs on top of him when he's nearly passed out, and enters his hotel room and gets naked under the covers (only her shoulders are visible) -- viewers see her kissing him, but the camera cuts away before it's clear what happens next. Derek's co-workers make several inappropriate references to Lisa (and his wife) about office "eye candy" and "piece of ass," etc.
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Language includes "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "oh my God," "goddamn," and the like.
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Products & Purchases
Brands with prominent product placement include Mercedes Benz, Cadillac, Old Navy, and Bugaboo strollers, and Christian Louboutin's red-soled heels.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink, at times heavily, at an office Christmas party and various dinners. Lisa overdoses on prescription pills (appearing unconscious in bed) and also laces Derek's drink with an unknown drug.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Fatal Attraction-esque thriller is too edgy for young Beyonce fans. There's a lot of sexuality (lingerie scenes, aggressive pursuit, implied nudity), although no actual sex scenes. Except for the main male character, there are no positive role models; instead, there are many negative stereotypes -- especially about women in the workplace. For most of the movie, there's more harassment than violence, but a final showdown includes punching, kicking, and more. Language includes words like "s--t," "a--hole," and "bitch," and there are several scenes of adults drinking and getting drunk. One main character is unknowingly drugged, while another purposely overdoses on prescription drugs.
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Based on 8 parent reviews
Perfect for older kids i.e. above 18
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What's the Story?
Derek Charles (Idris Elba) has a seemingly perfect life. He's an attractive, affluent money manager with a gorgeous wife named Sharon (Beyonce Knowles), a beautiful toddler son, and a brand-new house. Enter sultry office temp Lisa (Ali Larter), who has her predatory eyes set on Derek from the start. When Sharon first meets Lisa, it's obvious to her that the new employee has a thing for her husband. After some flirtatious banter, iffy office coversations, and wildly inappropriate behavior at the office Christmas party, Lisa starts to imagine that she and Derek are having an affair. So she starts stalking Derek and ruining his happy, successful life.
Is It Any Good?
OBSESSED has an entertaining camp value that saves it from falling completely flat, but it's not nearly as memorable as '80s cultural touchstone Fatal Attraction. Elba, who's a riveting actor (see the first three seasons of HBO's The Wire) deserving of much better roles, is never guilty of even a one-night-stand, unlike Attraction's Michael Douglas. Without that all-important consensual betrayal (and the lack of anything nearly as creepy as a dead rabbit), it's difficult to feel any sympathy for Lisa, the way audiences initially felt for Glenn Close's woman scorned. Poor Derek is simply a victim of a crazy woman's psychosexual delusions, instead of the much more interesting character he would have been had he (almost understandably) accepted Lisa's ridiculously aggressive advances. After all, his wife was once his assistant, too, so he's certainly not above falling for a sexy subordinate.
Ultimately, the whole thing is basically a 90-minute prelude to the much-hyped girlfight between Lisa and Sharon, who's not about to let a nutty vamp destroy her family. For many viewers (as evidenced by at least one audience's adulatory applause and whooping), that showdown is all that matters. But for anyone who still feels a little chill every time they think of a frizzy-haired Close springing up in the bathtub, Obsessed is a midlly amusing disappointment.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about relationships and sexuality. Do you think it reinforces stereotypes or tries to undermine them?
What role does technology play in the plot? Do you know anyone who's been stalked in real life or online? What steps can people take to protect themselves from obsessive suitors?
- In theaters: April 24, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: August 4, 2009
- Cast: Ali Larter, Beyoncé, Idris Elba
- Director: Steve Shill
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual material including some suggestive dialogue, some violence and thematic content
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
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