Jane White is Sick and Twisted (2002)

Rating: B+

Dir: David Michael Latt
Star: Kim Little, Wil Wheaton, Alley Mills, Chris Hardwick

Jane White, a product of way too many viewing hours, wants to be on TV. Specifically, The Gerry Show, a sleazefest operating out of Chicago, run by a former mayor – clearly nothing at all like Jerry Springer, then. To this end, she moonlights as a closet transvestite prostitute and writes letters to serial killer Kenny Kingman – but when he escapes, you know calamity is approaching, with the certainty of a commercial break.

If ever a film gave you back what you put in, this is it; to fully appreciate the movie, you’ll need an encyclopaedic knowledge of American TV of the past forty years. Lines of dialogue, scene transitions and, indeed, most of the cast come out of the depths of televisual pop-culture. Everything from The X-Files to Bewitched comes up, and I’m sure I missed a few; this is a movie in desperate need of liner notes.

Jane is perhaps not the most engaging of characters – five minutes with her and the urge to administer a good slapping would be irresistible – but she does get the best line (“Oh, my God! You killed…Mr Kingman! You bastard!”), while Chris Hardwick is outstanding as Burger, the next-door neighbour from hell. It’s also hard to complain about characterisation when you’re perpetually busy processing each and every element to try and find its original source. Never mind Jane, writer-director David Michael Latt is clearly the sick and twisted one – and here at TC, there can be no higher praise than that.