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Case Number 05271

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Obsessed (2002)

Warner Bros. // 2002 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 29th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson wants "Rowdy" Roddy Piper to play him in the Lifetime Original Movie He Plays Stratego Alone: The David Johnson Story.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Obsessed (2009) (published August 4th, 2009) and Obsessed (2009) (Blu-ray) (published August 17th, 2009) are also available.

The Charge

She said: They had an affair and he was leaving his wife. He said: It never happened. Who do you believe?

Opening Statement

What's more addicting than illegal narcotics? Three words: "Lifetime Original Movie." A wonder that the Feds have yet to institute a national LOM policy, as most everyone I know—from the gentlest female to the manliest man—have difficulty tearing their eyes away from Lifetime's cinematic storytelling. Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg) headlines this latest DVD release of the boob tube's equivalent of Oxycontin.

Facts of the Case

Ellena Roberts (Elfman) is taking a shower one night when she hears a knock at her door. She opens it, and discovers two police officers ready to arrest her and take her away for questioning in a harassment charge. In the holding cell she discovers an interested cellmate named Charlotte, and begins to tell her story…

Several months ago, at the airport, she ran into David Stillman (Sam Robards), a hugely successful neurosurgeon. Some playful conversation led to a shared cab, which led to some dinner, which lead upstairs, which, eventually, led to some passionate fornication. Stillman, infatuated with Roberts, petitions her to further cultivate their relationship, and she agrees, already smitten with the doctor.

So begins their torrid affair, even despite the small fact that Stillman is married. Stillman eventually agrees to leave his wife, but Roberts loses patience, and self-control, when he decides to forego their relationship in favor of staying with his wife.

Roberts tells the latter part of her story to her lawyer, Sara Miller (Kate Burton), who is convinced of her client's innocence. Meanwhile, David Stillman has a different account of what transpired:

Nothing ever happened. That psycho won't leaver me and my family alone. She's out of her damn mind.

Someone is either (a) lying, or (b) crazy.

The Evidence

This movie should have been renamed Jenna Elfman in Her Underwear. Be it lingerie or her skivvies, Elfman's Ellena Roberts prefers her on-screen time to be as revealing as possible. This isn't necessarily a criticism.

Lifetime movies are a guilty pleasure of mine—by which I mean I watch them, I take pleasure them, and I feel guilty afterwards. I don't actively seek out these movies, or pay any attention to the network's schedule. But on a lazy Sunday afternoon, after hours of clicking through channels, a Lifetime original is like a masochistic kind of oasis for me. I just mellow out to the melodrama.

One of the best things about LOMs are the titles. You can always spot a Lifetime original movie by the title. In fact, let me show you how you can make your own!

The Lifetime Original Movie Title Generator

TITLE: She __verb__ Alone: The __name__ Story.

Easy as that.

Title aside, Obsessed is not your average LOM, or TV movie for that matter. The film does an admirable job of keeping the twists coming, so the viewer isn't entirely sure who's telling the truth. There are some derivative plot devices that sprout up later in the film, but for most of the 90 minutes, director John Badham (a recipient of many awful pig jokes I'm sure) manages to control his little film and elicit suspense from the goings-on.

I don't want to get too into it, because the fat question marks are what make the movie watchable—that, and that Jenna Elfman underwear thing I mentioned before. However, by the end of the affair (the movie that is), I found there were way too many loose strings left blowing in the wind.

Also, the film claims it was based on a true story—but who knows? There is no mention of the real-life fates of any of the characters, and a text block preceding the credits claims that conversations and characters and such were changed. Translation: the screenwriter probably made a boatload of this up.

In the technical department, the movie sucks giraffe ass. The full-frame picture, bad enough already, is made even worse with a truly awful transfer. The pixellation ranges from "okay, that's pretty bad" to "swamp-gas murky." There were several wide shots that appeared I was watching them without my glasses. And I have pretty bad vision. A 2.0 stereo audio mix did nothing for me.

Some behind-the-scenes interviews make up the extras; basically, it's seven minutes of the actors trying their hardest to talk about the film without giving away key plot points.

Closing Statement

An above-average TV movie marred by a way-below-average disc treatment.

The Verdict

Lifetime is found guilty for Distribution of an Addictive Substance and sentenced to keep churning them out. Warner Bros. shall be smacked around with a wet beach towel for putting together this half-assed treatment.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 60
Audio: 75
Extras: 85
Acting: 85
Story: 85
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Drama
• Mystery
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Cast and Crew Interviews


• IMDb

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