Was Richards cast because a majority would not believe her, the tabloid-attention playmate-kind of B-movie star, as a nuclear scientist? Were they mainly banking on the moment she slipped out of the protective clothing and show off her physique in that tank top?
Still, so what? It was a great movie entrance. And whether her acting was good or not cannot be decided on, it is a matter of opinion. Technically, she did everything that was needed - so that would be considered as good acting. I do like her in that role. Others don’t. But that is just a highly subjective assessment.
Also, let’s not be revisionist about this.
If you criticize her, you have to criticize almost all the other Bond girls in the previous films.
Were any of them not cast for their looks? Were they absolutely believable in portraying the particular profession of their character? Were their roles always absolutely necessary to the plot? Would it have been more interesting not to have them in the story or to recast them?
Bond girls were named that way for a reason. To focus on Christmas Jones and fault TWINE for it would have to mean that you have to fault every Bond film for that. Because Bond films started out as a sexist, chauvinistic enterprise. They changed and evolved with a more enlightened view - but they still are at their core a male fantasy. We have to own this, as fans.