Beautiful & Twisted (TV Movie 2015) Poster

(2015 TV Movie)

User Reviews

Review this title
9 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
6/10
Miami Sunset
wes-connors2 February 2015
From his slab in the morgue, mega-rich Miami Beach hotel owner Rob Lowe (as Benjamin "Ben" Novack Jr.) narrates this movie. Although he's dead, Mr. Lowe sounds good-natured about his unfortunate end. It turns out to be a very painful death, however. "Viewer discretion is advised," reminds the Lifetime TV channel after several commercial breaks. Lowe briefly describes his upbringing. He was raised in a hotel around people like Elvis, Sinatra, JFK and Marilyn Monroe. Lowe says he was brought up on "TV and comic books." His all-time favorite is "Batman" and, as an adult, Lowe owns the TV series' Batmobile...

Coming of age, Lowe develops a taste for, in his words, "ass, booze, drugs." Most significantly, he becomes interested in super-sexy stripper Paz Vega (as Narcisa "Narcy" Veliz Pacheco). Lowe wants to make her his Catwoman. A single mom, Ms. Vega specializes in lap-dancing. She often appears to be aiming for a man's face instead of his lap. After Lowe saves Vega from a rape attempt, he take her for a ride in his Batmobile. The sex is fun, but a violent series of incidents leads to Lowe's death...

"Beautiful & Talented" was based on a true story, according to the opening and closing. This makes the story's execution very strange. Also an executive producer, Lowe immediately gives it a comic treatment. Director Christopher Zalla goes along with Lowe's characterization and adds generous looks at Vega's arousing curves (this being a US TV movie, the main spots remain covered). Vega and Candice Bergen (as Bernice) contribute to the fun. When the tone turns from light-hearted to gruesome, the story becomes jarring. In sum, these horrific murders are uneasily turned into sexy, fun entertainment. Early on, it works. Later on, it doesn't...

Having the victim narrate the story does recall the classic "Sunset Boulevard" (1950). By itself, that wouldn't be worth mentioning; and, it could even be coincidental. However, we do see Vega descend an ending staircase in a set-up that is obviously patterned after Billy Wilder's significantly more impressive stairway descent in "Sunset Boulevard". That story focused on Gloria Swanson (as Norma Desmond), but this one isn't sure Vega's "Narcy" is more interesting than Lowe's character. Led by suspicious daughter Seychelle Gabriel (as May), others in the cast are more serious and convincing. Richard Wong's photography and the luxurious locations are also quite good...

Adding to my measured recommendation of "Beautiful & Twisted" is the extensive supporting cast, plus extras and background players. They are a big part of Mr. Wong's scenery and help give the production a classy, professional look. Susan Edelman and the casting services almost set a record for a high number of my "Facebook" friends in a "Lifetime" TV movie...

Now a very prolific and versatile character actor, Barry Livingston plays the hotel event director; he is most remembered as Ernie Douglas, the youngest boy on the classic TV series "My Three Sons". There are a couple scenes with Douglas Eames as a policeman; he just finished a supporting role in "Doctor Mabuse: Etiopomar". A friend who seems to appear enough to have his own weekly show, Joe Integlia played a hotel guest. Alas, Joe's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. That's show business...

****** Beautiful & Twisted (1/31/15) Christopher Zalla ~ Rob Lowe, Paz Vega, Candice Bergen, Seychelle Gabriel
25 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Another film that wasn't what it could have been
mgconlan-11 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Beautiful & Twisted" was directed by someone named Christopher Zalla from a script by Teena Booth (essentially Lifetime's go-to writer when they can't get Christine Conradt that week), Stephen Kay, Inon Shampanier and Natalie Shampanier — I'm assuming those last two are a married couple and I can only hope their real-life relationship is better than the one they wrote about! "Beautiful & Twisted" is based on an actual story, the murder of hotel heir Ben Novack, Jr. (Rob Lowe) by his wife Narcisa "Narcy" Veliz (Paz Vega — an ironic first name given the morals, or lack thereof, of her character!), Narcy's brother Cristobal (Hemky Madera) and a couple of hit people in Cristobal's posse. Ben Novack, Sr. built and ran the famous Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, and though his business eventually went south and he had to sell the hotel (and died a few years later), at the time this story opens his wife, Bernice Novack (played by Candice Bergen in a performance that essentially steals the movie), is still alive in the big house her husband's money bought them, with a living room the size of an Astaire-Rogers movie set whose centerpiece is a grand piano given the Novacks by Frank Sinatra.

The film is narrated by Rob Lowe's character in a posthumous flashback — a gimmick that's been used in great movies like "Sunset Boulevard" as well as lousy ones like "Scared to Death" and that I recall on seeing on at least one previous Lifetime film, "The Two Mr. Kissels" (about two rich kids done to death by their grasping, gold-digging wives) — as he explains the weird upbringing he had: he lived with his parents in a 17th floor suite at the Fontainebleau and literally never saw any kids his own age. The only women he ever met were dancers and showgirls at the hotel, so naturally when he grew up and came of age sexually dancers and showgirls were the only women he was attracted to — which meant that when he wasn't pursuing his own business as a convention planner, he was hanging out strip clubs and paying handsomely for lap dances.

He meets Narcy at one such club, and finds that she's not willing to leap into bed with him at her first glance at his bankroll — she's a single mom working as a dancer to raise her daughter May (Soni Bringas), and she's making a pathetic attempt to shield May from the sordidness of what she does for a living even though the girl is on to her and knows exactly how her mom is keeping the proverbial roof over their heads. Ben falls for Narcy big-time and insists she quit her job and marry him — which is just fine with her — and she's shown in the film as a full-blown femme fatale in the classic noir manner, keeping Ben (and every other male she encounters, it seems) hopelessly hooked by throwing her sexual wiles at them. The other aspect of Ben's character that provides interest is he's a huge devotée of superhero comic books in general and Batman in particular — he boasts that he owns the second-largest collection of Batman memorabilia in the world and he even has a working version of the Batmobile used in the 1960's Batman TV show — and he compares himself to Batman and Narcy to Catwoman. He rescues her from a drunken club patron who's trying to rape her in the parking lot (though even before he arrives she's done such a good job fighting the guy off she hardly seems to need rescue!) and the relationship spirals from there, as in "out of control."

"Beautiful & Twisted" is one of those frustrating movies that could have been considerably better than it is — I kept thinking of "Double Indemnity" throughout, also a story about a decent but weak man entrapped into a murder plot by a sexually aggressive and irresistible femme fatale, and also narrated, if not literally from beyond the grave, at least by a character knocking at heaven's (or hell's) door (the narration in "Double Indemnity" is dictated onto a Dictaphone machine by Fred MacMurray's character as he is mortally wounded), and wondering how 1940's people like James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder could get this story so triumphantly right while Christopher Zalla, Teena Booth and the rest of her writing committee fell far short of the story's interesting potential.

Part of the problem is Rob Lowe; given that the biggest off-screen thing anyone remembers about him is his sexual shenanigans in a hotel room during a Democratic convention, it's almost inevitable that he get cast in things like this and "Drew Peterson: Untouchable" (in which he was the killer, and he acted considerably better than he did as the victim here!), but there's something superficial about him, something too light-hearted to make him work as the driven Ben Novack, Jr. Fred MacMurray wasn't any great shakes as an actor, either, but Wilder got a laconic, emotionally restrained performance out of him that works far better for this type of story than Lowe's almost terminal charm — it's as if Lowe and his director and writers desperately wanted us to like this guy and see him as a pathetic victim of a sexual snare, but he's too much of a sleazepit to make it work and instead we end up thinking through most of the movie that these two deserved each other!
11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
It Was Okay
bob-rutzel-239-52543014 June 2015
This is based upon a true story.

Ben Novak Jr (Rob Lowe) inherited the famous Fountainebleau Hotel in Florida. He married Narcy (Paz Vega), a stripper and pole dancer and she has a daughter,/ May (Seychelle Gabriel). Later Narcy accuses Ben of being unfaithful. Let the games begin.

In the beginning we see that Ben is dead, but he narrates the story anyway. They can do this in Hollywood. The narration is almost tongue-in-cheek and Ben holds no animosity toward Narcy, who becomes the center of a police investigation and he actually, kind of, blames himself as he believes he and Narcy were similar. When he is first attacked he doesn't want to file formal charges against Narcy because the publicity would harm his business.

Also in the beginning we will see some kinky sex stuff as young Ben is exposed to the Stripper world. It doesn't last long and after that there is no more, but it is shown to show Ben's upbringing in this arena and perhaps accumulating his taste for kinky sex.

Candace Bergan plays Ben's mother Bernice and does a credible job, but the scene where she dances (awkwardly) with a expensive sable wrap was wholly out of place and embarrassing to watch. Thankfully that scene doesn't last long.

Because Narcy knows that Ben's Will gives everything to Bernice, Narcy has some work for her brothers. Later when Ben wants to legally adopt May, Narcy knows there is more work to be done. Hard to believe there are people like Narcy out there, but there are.

See the statements at the end of the movie to find out what happened to everyone. (5/10)

Violence: Yes. Sex: Yes. Nudity: Yes, briefly in the beginning. Language: No.
11 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Don't just marry anyone!
phd_travel30 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This fascinating and well made true life murder movie is stylishly made with a tongue in cheek humor throughout. The glamor is fun to watch and the murders are quite brutal. The strange marriage and the stranger than fiction killings are very interesting to watch.

The cast is good if much better looking than the real life characters. The stunningly beautiful Paz Vega who looks like a prettier version of Penelope Cruz makes the most of the juicy role as the unbelievably deranged stripper turned murderous wife. Candice Bergen is effective as the disapproving mother in law. Rob Lowe is quite good as the whipped hotel heir who for some strange reason still stayed married to that crazy wife.

Worth a watch.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Dysfunctional fantasy of the rich, crude and unappealing despite the glamor
quincytheodore10 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
What starts like a noir thriller, complete with narration from the male lead, turns out to be a series of physical and mental abuses. It resembles a sensational tabloid, spamming view of attractive women, cash and drug, but ultimately offers no intelligent insight. Though it has a couple of good performances, the entire logic hinges on the seductress' ability to dodge peril simply because she's attractive, which admittedly she is, even though without clever plan whatsoever.

Ben (Rob Lowe) is born with silver spoon and grows up at showgirls' dressing room. He is not the best judge of character nor does he have decent moral compass, which is why he falls for Narcy (Paz Vega), a stunning exotic dancer. Along the years of their relationships, it's apparent that Narcy has appetite for hurting people. This is no Gone Girl, don't expect smart planning or foresight, it's a thriller where the girl does whatever she wants as she spirals into madness.

Granted, Paz Vega is an appropriate cast for the seductress, she's attractive and has a deceptively ominous air about her. However, the role is shallow, she's continuously mistreating those around her just for the sake of being cruel and Ben does nothing but narrates. Candice Bergen as Ben's mother is compelling, partially because she seems to be the most rational character.

Aside for a few titillating glamorous scenes, lavish atmosphere and semi dark comedy, the film barely keeps the plot together. It resorts in abrupt twists for shock value or sudden exaggerated change. Beautiful and Twisted will only suffice for those wanting a casual drama, as a crime thriller it simply relies on the good looks and not on the twisted intricacy.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Boring and Trashy
geoffox-766-41846723 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A horrific film with one solid performance. That of Candice Bergen. Unfortunately she is only in half of the film. Story, to this viewer, is not entertainment but exposing crime at it's worse. I have a deep concern that people are rewarded with substantial pay checks for writing this trite and making murder a sensation. Who knows who are watching this and getting ideas of their own. It is time to stop these sensation films and get back to entertaining the public.

Rob Lowe and Paz Vega (who is she?) are not interesting at all. He walks around with no expression and she swivels her hips and walks like a whore throughout the film. No expression on their faces, we are forced to watch these dull actors go through their paces. As I said, Candice Bergen is the saving grace. She gives a wonderful tongue in cheek performance. The scene with her dancing with her fur coat is hysterical. Dancing to her death you might say.

When our killer whore gets her up-pence I am not satisfied. I wanted her to get what she gave. A good beating to a pulp. But she just sashays to her demise.

There are several writers which explains the boring script. Teena Booth, Julie Brown, Stephen Ray and Inon and Natalie Shampanier. Who knows who wrote what and how they all managed to present this loser. I feel the director, Chris Zalla, did what he could to save this mess. But if he had better actors in the leads with more pizazz it might have worked. Even though I hated the story and feel it is not necessary to exploit murders and such. It gives people ideas, folks.
9 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Paz Vega The Femme Fatale
Desertman8425 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Beautiful And Twisted is an original Lifetime TV movie based on the true story about the Novack Murders and their investigation.It stars Rob Lowe,Paz Vega and Candace Bergen.It touches on themes about love,greed,excess and weirdness.

The setting of the story is at Miami,Florida where a millionaire and heir to a hotel fortune,Ben Novack,Jr goes to a strip club and meets a beautiful and sexy stripper,Narcy.Ben falls for her and they decide to get married going against the wishes of his mother,Bernice.Their marriage is characterized that of kinkiness,adultery,violence,awkwardness and intense love for another.However,it then led to distrust for one another which led to the murders of both Bernice and Ben.A police investigation was made and later found out that the culprits were Narcy and her brother,Cristobal with the motive of acquiring the family fortune.

If there is one reason to see this movie,it is Paz Vega.I love her portrayal as Nancy as the femme fatale.While it may not be an Emmy- Award winning performance,I must say that it was definitely entertaining for it is filled with a lot of sexiness and humor.Also,she made Narcy an interesting character.As for compelling characters,it was also nice to see Rob Lowe provide an entertaining performance as well as Ben Novack,the battered and constantly outsmarted husband. It has qualities of campiness and silliness that the viewer will definitely find it fun and entertaining.
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
**1/2
edwagreen28 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film is far from beautiful and I would agree with rather bent or twisted.

It's another opportunity for Rob Lowe to play in a lunatic like film.

He is brought up in extraordinary wealth and largely ignored by his jet-setting parents. By later in the film, the mother, ably played by a very aged Candice Bergen admits that her marriage to the wealthy magnate was far from a bargain.

The murder scenes are gruesome to say the least as Ben (Lowe) gets the idiot of the year award for putting up with his dazzling but beautiful wife and her escapades of violent behavior directed at him and his mother.

Neurotically sick best describes this film and it doesn't exactly show the Florida police as being savvy in the beginning to figure out what is going on here.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Just a chef d'oeuvre
simiagon28 May 2020
Like I really don't understand the hate people have for this film..For real everything is in it, just like wolf of wallstreet(not as good as it tho) money, b*tches,s*x,drogue...murder,treason,love etc...a great film really..I enjoyed every second of this
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed