Picks and Pans Review: If Looks Could Kill
Richard Grieco, Linda Hunt
Mildly amusing at odd moments, but mostly just silly, this spy spoof is about a Detroit high school student on a class trip to France who gets mistaken for a CIA agent.
As the student, 21 Jump Street star Grieco makes his movie debut. He’s competent, although the main impression he leaves is of having spent too long in makeup—he resembles Prince on a mascara binge.
It helps that director William (Harry and the Hendersons) Dear and production designer Guy (Quest for Fire) Comtois give the film a high-class thriller look. If the film’s gadgets and settings aren’t up to James Bond standards, they do hit a 005½ level or so. Hunt and Roger Rees, from Cheers, handle the villainy with élan as two blackguards plotting to rule Europe; Robin Bartlett tackles the flimsy role of Grieco’s tyrannical French teacher with panache too.
The script, by Darren (TV’s Beverly Hills 90210) Star, is what drags the project down. Lines such as “Shut up, you whining bitch” are used as jokes. The gags include the name of Grieco’s school—Edsel High-and that of Rees’s bimbo henchwoman, Areola Canasta (played voluptuously by Carole Davis). Star can’t even get his syntax straight: “Of course,” says an armaments expert, “X rays are impervious to lead.”
Grieco fanatics in a tolerant mood may find the movie to be acceptably amusing, all things considered. Anyone else will start perplexed—how can a guy who looks to be a well-used 30 still be in high school?—and get more restless by the minute. (PG-13)