Twisted: Sam Emerson
February 25, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Homicide detective Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) is a woman in a man’s world, and that puts her in jeopardy. Plus, she’s got a scaaary sex drive that compels her to mount every hetero man-skank in Frisco. When four of them turn up dead, her jeopardy is, well, doubled. To top it off, her male coworkers invariably want to nail and/or harass her — and how can they resist? They’re men, after all! And she’s hot! Why, that’s triple jeopardy! BINGO! What do we win?

A pretty lousy movie, which would be offensive were it not safely neutered by its own stupidity. (In that sense, it resembles director Philip Kaufman’s own ”Rising Sun,” which was as dull-witted and pedantic about race as Twisted is about sex. Where’s the erotic anarchist who gave us ”The Unbearable Lightness of Being” — or even the dirty old egghead of ”Quills”?) Judd strays into naughty-joke territory with pornocomic lines like ”I was raised to be a good girl,” and Samuel L. Jackson’s twist on the Morgan Freeman-esque Judd-mentor role amounts to little more than bellowing. We’re left to ponder Shepard’s mysterious blackouts — is she a somnambulant man killer, or just some man’s patsy? Shepard, who’s seen guzzling cab sauv by the tumblerful, puts forth her own hilariously late-breaking theory: ”Maybe I drink too much.” Maybe. Or maybe the audience isn’t drunk enough.

97 minutes
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