Perry Hayes (Waylon Payne) and Billy Cain (George Katt) where once high school buddies but years later Perry is bumbling through a life of mediocrity when Billy phones him out of the blue after a suicide attempt.
Turnabout has the right ingredients to make something good but not everything goes in the mix right and the result is a bit of a stodgy, flat, flavourless cake (film).
There’s a twist, but the writing hasn’t been clever enough through the movie to really make it convincing; it’s almost like they got to the end and added the twist rather than work towards it from the beginning.
One of the things which plagues the movie are long scenes where you kind of expect something to happen then nothing does, I’m sure it’s a “style” but it winds me up; just get on with it!
And on the same topic it’s probably a good 45 minutes to 1 hour before the film really gets going and once it finally gets into top gear crashes to a halt/end (more on that later)
Perry and Billy meet up in a diner and while the acting is quite stilted Katt plays the part of the unhinged Billy quite well (though that level of facial grooming doesn’t suggest someone on a path of self destruction).
It’s clear that while Perry is cautious and middle-of-the-road, Billy is self destructive wastrel who destroys those around him. Like most who have no responsibilities and no dependants Billy wants to extend the night but of course Perry is risk-adverse and wants to go back to his wife but doesn’t quite have the guts to stand up to him.
Perry tries to rally against Billy’s guilt trips but to no avail and instead of parting ways they end up in a dingy hole of a strip club. You can tell from the off who has the strongest character and of course they both know it (and Billy takes full advantage of it).
Poor Perry gets left by Billy (who seems to be in his element) to be manhandled by one of the strippers and as the strippers’ crotch gets thrust repeatedly in his face Perry realises that he’s probably been spiked.
After a few hours of debauchery Billy declares he needs to take his stripper, Candy (Sayra Player), home. (How they know each other given Billy doesn’t live in the town is a mystery).
Billy convinces Perry to leave with his own stripper (Sherri), back at a motel and in between scenes you assume that Perry and Sherri have already done the deed but then Sherri is in entirely different attire and Perry is resisting her. It’s disjointed and like a scene or two was cut from the middle.
Sherri continues to antagonise Perry for no apparent reason then the next thing you know she’s dead. Payne is completely unable to act upset convincingly and watching him try to act is actually quite painful.
The rest of the film is then about Billy leading the cleanup operation and Perry sobbing and not doing much useful. It’s slow and only as it nears the end does the movie finally feel like it’s picking up momentum.
When things start to settle down again for Perry, Candy shows up demanding a ransom for a video tape of Perry with the stripper. The whole scene is horribly awkward, not because it was written that way but because of the awful acting where neither actor manages to be convincing in their roles.
It’s quite easy to predict what’s on the video tape but just when you think ‘oh, now it’s starting to get somewhere’ Turnabout ends. It’s completely unsatisfying and it would have been better to loose some of the countless boring scenes in the stodgy middle, move the current ending forward and then actually do something interesting with the story.