A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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 ...
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, Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba
- Director: Steve Shill
- 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
For kids who love thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.