"Twisted" isn't just set in San Francisco: It's an ad for San Francisco. The plot improbably plods past so many of the city's attractions that it seemed destined for a climactic shootout at the Rice-A-Roni factory.

Gutsy cop Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) has just been promoted to homicide. She beats up on bad guys. She plays by her own rules. Her mean streak, however, is rooted in the story of her parents' murder-suicide, and she blows off steam after work by picking up scuzzy men in bars. She's haunted by more disturbing issues than an archivist for Hustler magazine. Where's Internal Affairs when you really need them?

These scuzzy men come back to haunt her when they start turning up dead in her first homicide case. Jessica's partner (Andy Garcia) tells her to play it straight, her mentor (Samuel L. Jackson) tells her to stay focused, and nearly everyone tries to get in her pants. Jessica endures more unwanted male attention than Andrew Fastow in prison.

Complicating Jessica's investigation is the fact that when she drinks a glass of wine, she gets tunnel vision, passes out, then wakes up to the announcement that one of her past liaisons is dead. Her solution? More wine. She repeats this cycle about a dozen times before anyone thinks to switch her to beer. I won't give away the end, but here's a tip about movies like these: Once you've eliminated the most likely suspect, cut right to the least likely and you've usually two-stepped your way right to the edge of the filmmaker's creative limits.

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