Disney's Hollywood pictures has given a shoddy once-over to Sara Paretsky's classy novels about a female dick from Chicago named V.I. Warshawski. The film looks as if it were shot through ripped pantyhose. It took three writers to craft a script of unvarying cliches. And the direction, by Jeff Kanew, is all you'd expect from the hack who brought forth Revenge of the Nerds and Troop Beverly Hills.
That juice remains is due to Kathleen Turner's sass as Victoria Iphigenia (she uses the initials to avoid being patronized by male scum). She makes V.I. formidable without turning her into a terminatrix. Her penchant for hurt-me heels and sleek dresses seems less an attempt to become la femme Warshawski than an endearing resistance to a job that's made her blowzy.
The film's whodunit plot is a snore. V.I. falls for Boom-Boom (Stephen Meadows), a former hockey player who promptly gets murdered, leaving her with his smartass teen daughter, Kat (Angela Goethals), who helps V.I. catch the killer. There's some good acting — from Charles Durning as a fatherly cop, Jay O. Sanders as an amorous reporter and especially Goethals, currently winning raves off-Broadway in Linda Barry's Good Times Are Killing Me. With more careful nurturing, they might have done Paretsky and Warshawski proud.