Rarely has a flop extinguished a career so quickly as V.I. Warshawski did to Kathleen Turner. Turner came in boasting a truly enviable résumé of 1980s hits, only to see this would-be franchise character knock her name permanently off the top of movie posters. V.I. Warshawski has developed kind of a cult familiarity for being famously misguided, but the truth is, it's more boring than anything else. Turner's tongue-in-cheek appeal from the Romancing the Stone saga is nowhere to be seen. The few attempts at humor totally sputter, leaving the movie feeling like a sluggish detective story with only superficial grit or direction. A different actress might have pulled this off, or pulled it off better. But Turner's sunny charm, key to her previous success, is totally suppressed by the bad lighting and grimy urban setting. What passes for a running joke is that everyone says her last name differently, despite its relatively straightforward phonetic pronunciation. Inadvertently, this ends up being a metaphor for how unknowable she is. If they intended this as a series, screenwriter David Aaron Cohen should have given some consideration to the character's origins as a private eye, but there's only a cursory mention of her once having been a lousy housewife. The only other depth V.I. has is a maternal instinct for the girl who just lost her father, and without a back story, it feels like an empty gesture. Child actor Angela Goethals has the most life of anyone on screen, while the ragtag bunch of character actors who fill out the cast range from hammy to just plain ridiculous. We eventually learn that the V stands for "Victoria." Maybe they were waiting for the sequel to reveal the I, but "Insipid" seems like a pretty good guess.
by Derek Armstrong review