Obsessed -- Film Review

"Obsessed," a pedestrian melodrama about a female stalker, comes at you with red-flag warnings.

You watch the perfect couple and their perfect child move into their dream home, and the first one goes off: Uh-oh, the filmmakers are setting them up for a fall. Then at his work an elevator empties, leaving Derek (Idris Elba) alone with a beautiful woman. Oops, there's the problem. When this woman, Lisa (Ali Larter), leans across Derek's desk later that day and states, "I'm not your typical temp," you know exactly what she means. A few moments later, someone mentions an upcoming Christmas party -- no spouses allowed. Derek, don't go to that damn party.

"Obsessed" proceeds like this through innocent flirtation, come-ons, rejections, then outright sexual harassment. Every move is telegraphed well in advance thanks to desultory writing, routine direction and ample musical cues. The only puzzle, if it truly is one, is why talented singer-actress Beyonce Knowles -- looking for new challenges in her meteoric career -- chose to play the role of the wife and mother, Sharon, who remains clueless about her husband's dilemma for much of the movie.

But you really do know why. A red flag gets planted the minute she lays eyes on Lisa. There's going to be one hell of a catfight to wind up this movie. So Beyonce remains content to stay in the background and model smart designer clothes for all occasions until she and Lisa can trash the house and each other. Talk about a home wrecker.

Writer David Loughery makes no attempt to supply a motive or even a misunderstanding for the young woman's aberrant behavior. She's just Psycho Temp from the moment she brings Derek into her cross hairs.

Taking cues from such films as "Disclosure" and "Fatal Attraction," Loughery ups the ante every few minutes with more outrageous actions from Psycho Temp. There's no rabbit scene, but Lisa does sneak into the couple's house and cuddles the baby.

Television director Steve Shill, making his feature debut, gets the scenes onto film, but few have any spark. More often, they feel like line readings rather than actors engaged with their characters and a story. It's a lot to endure just to witness that catfight.

Opened: Friday, April 24 (Screen Gems)