Retro Review: Twisted

Where has the Judd gone?

Ashley Judd really burst onto the scene with the 1996 Marilyn Monroe bio-pic “Norma Jean & Marilyn” where Judd played the more reserved Norma Jean to Mira Sorvino’s Marilyn.

Judd was brilliant and began a great theatrical supporting career with films like “A Time to Kill”, “Kiss the Girls” and “Simon Birch”.

Then in 1999, Judd became a box office champion and leading lady with the runaway hit “Double Jeopardy”.

She hasn’t looked back since. Maybe she should have or at least with “Twisted” she should now.

Judd plays ball-buster and “newly made” homicide detective Jessica Shepherd who was raised by her father’s ex-partner John Mills (Samuel L Jackson), where she was taught by Mills to be a damn fine cop like her father.

Upon receiving her homicide badge, Jessica is assigned new veteran partner Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia) and a new chief Lieutenant Tong (Russell Wong).

Jessica is being haunted by images from her past. As her first homicide case begins to unravel clues point to Jessica as each of her victims were one of her one night stands. Could Jessica be the murderer or is it an elaborate hoax to bring down the city’s finest female homicide detective?

“Twisted” is probably the worst script I have witnessed for a motion picture in recent memory.

All of my worst films of last year come close to the awfulness of this script but none are as bad. “Gigli” included. An excellent script is paramount (no pun intended) when sculpting a successful crime drama.

What’s wrong with the script? Well for starters the actors recite dialogue that belongs in those late night Cinemax movies starring Andrew Stevens and Shannon Tweed. Corny lines like, “It was such an honor to raise the daughter of my dead ex-partner.” or “Let’s say hello to good mental health.”

Then there are all those stupid multiple-shown scenes like Judd “power-pounding” red wine in a water glass then starring at a photo of her recently shot father and passing out. That one scene must have been shown at least 6 or 7 times. Another repeated scene is her mentor Jackson saying that there is no way she should be taken off the case.

Judd’s character is so rugged and almost sleazy that you really feel the woman has been seriously miscast. There is very little to care about or like about her and that bugged me.

Jackson also is so useless in this movie that he seems bored. I love him as an actor but here there is no life in him.

“Twisted” fails on so many levels and even though it supports a strong cast. I really have to admire the skill in casting for this film and it was nice to see TV vets Russell Wong and Titus Welliver again. I also do have to give leads Judd, Jackson and Strathairn credit for delivering some of those awful lines with a straight face.

Why doesn’t Hollywood stop making grimy, gritty crime thrillers? We are all waiting for the next “Se7en” or “Usual Suspects” but the awful ones we have to absorb in the meantime, like “Twisted”, is painful. TV these days supports great crime drama with hits like “Law & Order” and “C.S.I.” even when these shows are on an off night they aren’t as painful as this film.

The most twisted thing about this whole film is how it ever got past the script stage.

(1 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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