The Girl Most Likely to... Movie Review

Made for TV in 1973, right around the time the smoke was starting to clear from a nationwide wave of bra burnings, The Girl Must Likely To... is a deeply dark revenge comedy with a feminist agenda that's as relevant today as it was back in the day.

Co-written with acidic wit by Joan Rivers, the briskly paced telepic stars Stockard Channing as Miriam Knight, an overweight, frumpy, oh, alright, I'll say it... butt ugly college co-ed who schlumps around the campus hiding behind frizzy hair and baggy clothes. Everyone treats Miriam like dirt. The jocks tease her, the pretty girls avoid her, and the professors ignore her. Amazingly enough, Miriam is engaged, but even her plumber fiancé Harold (Warren Berlinger) mistreats her.

After one particularly unpleasant humiliation, one that would send most college kids up to the top of the tower with a high-powered rifle, Miriam decides instead to drive away in a fury, only to end up in a horrible accident. She's been mangled. Much plastic surgery will be required.

The Miriam who emerges from the bandages is someone altogether new, someone who looks more like Priscilla Presley than Gladys Presley. No one can believe how gorgeous Miriam has become, least of all Miriam herself. (The transformation is truly astonishing -- a credit to Channing, her costumers, and her makeup people.) She's a whole new person, and with that realization, she decides to head back to campus to get some revenge on those who have done her wrong. It's a long list.

With each cleverly crafted murder (you may be reminded of Heathers), Miriam's spirits and creativity rises. She reaches a peak when, pretending to be a cheerleader recruiter, she tricks one of her vicious dormmates into backflipping down a hallway and right out the window, sending her plummeting to her death. You go, girl! But as the body count rises, the police, in the form of Detective Ralph Varone (Edward Asner), start sniffing around. Soon Miriam is a prime suspect, even as the detective starts to fall in love with her.

One of the pleasures of The Girl Most Likely To... is its supporting cast, a who's who of '70s B-listers. You'll see Jim Backus and Joe Flynn, not to mention Fred Grandy (Gopher from The Love Boat), Larry Wilcox (CHiPs), and even Annette O'Toole. All of them have a great time with their roles, as does Channing, who used this film as a launching pad for her long and consistent career. Joan Rivers, on the other hand, went on to write Rabbit Test.

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Comments

The Girl Most Likely to... Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 1973

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