Sometimes things just aren’t what they seem. “Jane White Is Sick & Twisted” falls into that category. From the title and the disclaimer before the film (reading: “WARNING: The following scenes may be unsuitable for children”), you might think the film is a shock fest along the lines of Lydia Lunch or Richard Kern – or at the very least a barrage of profane and brutal toilet humor from the front lines of fiercely independent films. “Jane White” is decidedly different.
It first becomes apparent over the opening credits over the “Jane White Show” theme song with Kim Little as Jane White doing parodies of classic television opening sequences (from the corny like “Friends” to the clever like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”). You quickly realize that the title is not a prediction of what you’ll see, but rather the description of the main character’s mental state.
Jane White is a teenage girl who is obsessed with television – namely the Jerry show with David L. Lander (Squiggy for those not up on 1970s TV trivia) as the parody of Jerry Springer. In fact, Jane believes Jerry to be her father and thinks the only way to meet him is to become a guest on his show.
So obsessed is Jane that she reads the upcoming show advertisement and tries to become it. Initially, we see her dress up as a transvestite hooker and go streetwalking in order to be a guest on the “I’m a Closet Transvestite Prostitute” show. Later, she drags Wil Wheaton into the desert in order to be abducted by aliens.
Jane decides to embark on a pilgrimage to Chicago to meet with Jerry. She leaves her mother with Burger, the local bubba delivery boy with really, REALLY bad teeth. She hooks up with Dick (Wheaton), a stranger at the local bus station, and becomes his impromptu girlfriend. We later are led to believe that he is an escaped killer with whom she has been emailing over the past few years.
Eventually, their quest leads them back home, where Jane finds love and happiness in her own sick and twisted way.
Another aspect of the film that didn’t appear to be what it first was is how “industry” it was. While well shot and lit (although lit with the classic Star Trek pastel mood lighting), it still has the look of a independent DV film shot in middle America. However, as the film moves along, we keep seeing familiar faces – Wil Wheaton (Wesley from “Star Trek: TNG”), Colin Mochrie (from “Whose Line Is it Anyway?”), Richard Klein (Larry from “Three’s Company”), Maureen McCormick (Marsha from “The Brady Bunch”), and Dustin Diamond (just plain Screech) to name a few.
“Jane White Is Sick and Twisted” isn’t really sick or twisted at all. It is a screwball road comedy made with an independent flair. The story gets lost at times and the jokes can be forced. Of course, Dick’s solution to find true love at the end of the film is worth the price of admission alone.
The supporting cast is pretty good, especially the aforementioned Colin Mochrie. Ultimately, it has its moments and has some clever jokes. And, it might make a good drinking game – take a drink whenever there is an old TV show reference.