You’re much too talented to be wasting time on sluggish potboilers like “High Times” and “Twisted.” Formulaic, derivative, and completely boneheaded, the script for “Twisted” should never have made it past a studio reader, much less someone with their client’s best interests in mind.

Mindless sums up Sarah Thorp’s screenplay, a mishmash of one dimensional characters, stilted dialogue, outrageous coincidences, and cliche. I rolled up my eyes so many times I had to lean over to see straight. “Twisted” is supposed to be a mystery thriller, but the only mystery is how this flightless bird ever got off the ground. Under Philip Kaufman’s direction, “Twisted” is a dry and flavorless turkey, more of an excuse to hold on to retirement benefits than entertain a paying audience.

Nothing makes sense in “Twisted,” which stars a distressed Ashley Judd as a San Francisco street cop promoted to homicide. Jessica Shepard (Judd) is a real piece of work. She drinks too much, suffers alcoholic blackouts, sleeps around, and isn’t afraid to put her male colleagues in their place. She also has the support of Police Commissioner John Mills (Samuel L. Jackson), who helped raise Jessica since the death of her parents.

Even though her new partner Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia) is smitten, Jessica’s placement in the all boy’s homicide club ruffles major feathers. Jessica’s first case turns out to be personal, a series of male bodies who turn out to be the victims of a serial killer. Oh yeah, and all of the victims slept with Jessica, who thanks to her alcoholic blackouts, can’t explain where she was at the time of their deaths.

When Jessica’s not fielding probing questions from the police psychiatrist (David Straithairn) or dodging insults from fellow homicide detectives, she’s desperately trying to fill in the holes in her memory.

Kaufman’s direction and Thorp’s script are just as flimsy as their logic, which expects us to believe the fantastic without reservation. It’s impossible to invest in Jessica, a woman responsible for her own self-destruction. While the script manages to paint every characters as a suspect, anyone with at least one flashing brain cell should be able to beat the filmmakers to the punch.

“Twisted” is a waste of time, and worse, a waste of talent. Judd, Jackson and Garcia go through the motions, hoping that Kaufman will be able to save them in the editing room. CPR couldn’t breathe life into this mess.

Judd For The Defense Element of surprise missing from Twisted thriller


Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Straithairn, Russell Wong, Camryn Manheim. Directed by Phillip Kaufman. Rated R. 97 Minutes.


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