White bitches be crazy. Lonely, delusional, sexually frustrated, and job-hopping solely to land fresh game in their cruel, unsparing claws, our pale sisters have clearly reached a new cinematic low with Obsessed, the enigmatically titled “thriller” that has the good sense to dispense with character, believability, subtlety, or even functional dialogue, and concentrate exclusively on setting the cause of white women back 100 years. Maybe longer. When the story of our time is written, they may well look to this Magic Johnson production as the real source of the SWF’s demise. She’s been kooky before, perhaps even murderous, but never has one of their skinny asses exploded with such unprovoked rage. Yes, we all know that if you fuck a bitch and leave her, she may come knocking. Show up at your work. Leave a nasty voice mail or two. But given your behavior, it was not without some cause.
Now, with Lisa (Ali Larter), the men are wholly innocent. And black. It was one thing when they were harassing our CEOs, middle managers, and suburban champions of white picket virtue; now they’re coming after our black men. Successful black men. With high-paying jobs, families, and marriage licenses. This crazy cracker couldn’t settle for the fry cook or the garbage man, for chrissakes. No, she’s poised, set, and ready to snare the one professional black male in the history of American movies who not only turns down a Laker game to spend time with his kid, but angrily refuses the lip-smacking come-ons of a half-naked hottie. Not once, but twice!
So we’re always in Derek’s (Idris Elba) court, even though he met his current wife, Beyonce Knowles, via the office romance. Still, even though he fucked his secretary, they were both unmarried at the time, so company protocol could be suspended for a happy ending, as he made an honest woman out of her. But we love Derek from the first frame, because, even though he may want to fuck a bitch up, he keeps it in his pants. The only sex this brother has is with his spouse on the bedroom floor of his new mansion. Married sex. And if you believe the polls, it’s the only kind worth having. Husbands and wives do it more often, in more positions, and with more accoutrements than single people could ever imagine. It’s hotter, wilder, and longer lasting, and isn’t it about time Hollywood took a stand for matrimony? And why not a black man? Sure, this marriage is tested – even broken for a time – but as we know Derek is innocent, we await the final affirmation of righteous morality. Stick it out, play it safe, and all will be well.
The set up is as obvious as the denouement: attractive white woman signs on as a temp, spies her ebony prince from afar, and takes all of three seconds to flirt shamelessly. We are given no background of course, but it’s enough to know that she’s waited all her life to fuck with this very brother. Trap number one is to fake a sob-filled pity party in the break room, describing herself as unlovable and worthless, all so Derek will touch her arm, ask her to share her feelings, and give her just cause to assume that he wants to leave his wife for her. He touches her arm, which, to white women, approximates the intimacy of a clitoral tongue bath, so it’s only a matter of time before she ups the stakes. Needless to say, said stakes are set at the requisite Christmas party, which means there will be dancing, drinking, and at least one opportunity for inebriated co-workers to sneak off and fuck in some corner office. That’s Lisa’s plan, anyway, as she accosts Derek in the bathroom as he snakes the drain. Within seconds, she’s all lips and hips, panting like a pug in summer, but he’s not having it. He fumes, pushes her away, storms out, and returns to his married bed.
From there, Lisa sends sexy emails, jumps into Derek’s car wearing only a negligee, and tells the office homosexual (who, shockingly, just happens to be the resident gossip) that Derek is now her lover. She follows him home. Trails him on office retreats. Demands love and affection. Derek isn’t offering so much as a peck on the cheek. He only has eyes for Beyonce. Before long, there’s a spiked drink, a naked suicide attempt, a stolen child, and a truly thankless Christine Lahti as a world weary detective. Sure, the suicide and fucking-with-my-kid shit makes this little more than Fatal Attraction with a tan, but this time around, I’m thinking it’s less a defense of hearth and home than a warning to the current occupant of the White House. Lisa – fanatic, nutcase, relentless psychopath – is the Republican Congress, hell bent on catching the man in charge with his pants down. There is temptation, even a little tit for good measure, but Derek Obama is all about the job at hand, as well as his loving family. And, as with any national drama worth its salt, it all ends with a prolonged catfight, where Beyonce (standing in for the First Lady) kicks the shit out of the loyal opposition, unashamed to use lamps, fists, and a well-placed chandelier to stand by her man. In the end, she kills Lisa, and America is saved. Though there will undoubtedly be others.
Sure, it could have been campier, Lisa even crazier, and Beyonce even more wooden, but who can resist any movie where Jerry O’Connell says of the new girl: “The new temp? How about temptress?” Or, when Derek is frantically trying to resuscitate an unconscious Lisa, he screams, “Breathe, bitch!” It’s a refreshingly reactionary screenplay where the law is powerless, women live to send their men through the wringer, the workplace an excuse to set tee times and fuck whores, and blond hair the most telling sign of stupidity, insanity, and all-out trouble. There’s even a “she’s not really dead!” moment for the faithful, though that’s quickly countered by an unfairly non-grisly demise. At least Alex Forrest took a bullet after prolonged strangulation. There’s a moment near the end, too, when I wondered if there wasn’t a bit of post-production tinkering. Lisa drugs Derek at a hotel and, if we are to fill in the blanks, rides him into an ejaculatory sunset while he’s half asleep. Was this too much for our dark hero? Did the gatekeepers require purity? I thought for certain this rape was also going to be used to reveal a pregnancy, but it’s likely we’ll never know for certain.
A surprisingly strong opening weekend reveals that there’s either an untapped demand to see the more earnest, thespian side of Beyonce, or else Magic Johnson permitted nothing else to be shown in his nationwide theaters. Still, don’t count out the table-turning that at last puts black faces on the side of decency, while equating whiteness with murderous jealousy. In all, it’s a good start to the Obama Age; a time of such hope, change, and promise that a black woman will call it quits at one child and instead seek the greener pastures of graduate school and career advancement. Even as it brings on the white women, dead set on stealing her man.