If Looks Could Kill (1991) / Comedy-Action
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language, violence and sexuality
Running Time: 88 min.
Cast: Richard Grieco, Roger Rees, Linda Hunt, Robin Bartlett, Ganrielle Anwar, Geraldine James, Michael Siberry, Carole Davis, Frederick Coffin, Tom Rack
Director: William Dear
Screenplay: Darren Star
Review published March 16, 2004
I remember my younger, less discriminating days, when I would watch "21 Jump Street" on Fox every week. I couldn't really remember what caused me to eventually lose interest in the show, figuring I probably matured out of it. Now that I've seen If Looks Could Kill, it now all comes back to me. Yes, it was the introduction of Richard Grieco that served as the death knell for my enjoyment of that show and I've been pretty much successful in avoiding almost every other project he's been involved with since.
Hindsight isn't always 20/20, as circumstances have now arisen that caused me to check out Grieco's failed attempt at becoming a movie star. I wish to personally thank each and every person who decided not to pay money to see this glamour vehicle, thwarting an obvious attempt at a franchise in the making, and allowing me to proceed into adulthood with one less over-marketed pretty boy product to have to endure.
Grieco portrays smart-ass high school student Michael Corbin, who travels to France with his French class, not knowing there is another Michael Corbin on board, one who works as a secret operative for the CIA. As fate would have it, the student is confused as being the spy, and soon British intelligence pick him up, outfit him with all the latest gadgets, and send him on his latest mission to save the world. With hot cars and hotter babes on the agenda, it's an offer he finds impossible to refuse.
There's quite a bit of suspension of disbelief that must be employed to be able to sit though If Looks Could Kill without becoming overly agitated, including believing that the 26-year-old Grieco is still in high school. What's more is that a bad-ass like him would survive any school with perfectly plucked eyebrows and wearing more eye shadow than anyone in the female cast. At least it's played mostly for laughs, so when the film falters from funny physics and silly mistaken identity antics, it seems to fit in with the tongue-in-cheek nature of believing a "teenager" could be the world's top secret agent.
There was potential to be something more, but there really isn't much here to recommend. Half-witted gags, overwrought explosions, and cartoonish villainy are all that's served on this plate, making this just another tedious James Bond spoof without much inspiration.
Dennis Miller said it best: "If looks could kill, somebody get Grieco a mirror."
©2004 Vince Leo