(director: Steve Shill; screenwriter: David Loughery; cinematographer: Ken Seng; editor: Paul Seydor; music: Jim Dooley; cast: Idris Elba (Derek), Beyoncé Knowles (Sharon), Ali Larter (Lisa), Jerry O’Connell (Ben), Bonnie Perlman (Marge), Christine Lahti (Detective Reese), Nathan Myers (Kyle), Nicolas Myers (Kyle), Bruce McGill (Joe Gage); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: William Packer; Screen Gems; 2009)
“TV director Steve Shill makes his feature film debut a forgettable one.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
TV director Steve Shill makes his feature film debut a forgettable one. It’s a grating “fatal attraction” film with teasing tepid sex scenes. Annoyingly it also flirts with racial politics. Writer David Loughery turns in an embarrassingly weak screenplay that is not only poorly constructed but exploitative.
Handsome African-American Derek Charles (Idris Elba) has just moved into a beautiful upscale home in Los Angeles. He’s a successful asset manager, recently promoted, who is happily married for the last three years to his business assistant, the beautiful African-American Sharon (Beyoncé Knowles), and has a young son Kyle. But his blissful life hits a bump on the road when the sultry blonde Lisa (Ali Larter), an office temp worker, starts hitting on him and doesn’t stop even when he tells her he’s not interested. In one scene, at a Christmas party, she throws herself at the saintly Derek when he’s in the bathroom stall and he must fight her off to escape without a blow job.
How much things get out of hand becomes ludicrous. In fact, so ludicrous and unconvincing that the film switches gears from the spurned woman scenario (since nothing happens between the stalker and the prey) and the last part now has the mentally disturbed Lisa turning to unthinkable criminal acts against Derek’s family. The climax has one of the more awkward catfights onscreen ever, with Lisa hanging onto the chandeliers for dear life while the nice Sharon shows us how she has it in her to slap that crazy bitch around.
This tedious and base melodrama fails to build tension, tell a good story, or even attempt to provide an explanation for Lisa’s unbelievable obsession. The movie seems to have some kind of a racial agenda, but even that is not clear because the script is so inadequate. So far, it’s the worse film I’ve seen this year.
REVIEWED ON 4/30/2009 GRADE: D