Even stripped of her liberal politics and souped up to Emma Peel levels of retaliation, thriller-writer Sara Paretsky's private eye V I Warshawski (Turner) should have been a plausible alternative to the screen's male peepers. Kanew's vehicle, however, proves a wheel-clamped affair. Hired by foul-mouthed but vulnerable 13-year-old Kat (Goethals) to find out who killed her dad, V I digs into the case, which turns out to be a disappointing piece of all-purpose fluff about an inheritance. Since she's out there on her own, V I has a pit-stop team comprising on-off lover Murray (Sanders) and a caring cop who knew her way back when (Durning); and some of the interchanges between them recall, in a debased form, the old Howard Hawks routines for bantering buddies. The hook is Warshawski's feminism, delivered, and the relationship with the kid, vastly borrowed from Cassavetes' wonderful Gloria. Not good.