The Beautician and the Beast (1997)
The Dictator and The Nanny
As I searched for information on "The Beautician and the Beast" I kept on coming across positive opinions with people saying it was great but these opinions all had one thing in common as they kept on mentioning Fran Drescher and "The Nanny" and how this was like an extension of it. That is all fine and well if you have ever watched "The Nanny" but what if you haven't experienced Fran Drescher in "The Nanny"? The end result is a comedy which seems to combine "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music" but having a wise cracking New Yorker as the teacher/guardian to a strict leader's children. It's okay with some fun moments and the occasional clever line but unless you are a fan of Drescher it is a bit hard going.
When a newspaper reports that New Yorker Joy Miller (Fran Drescher) had heroically saved a science classroom from fire she becomes head hunted by Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton - The Rocketeer), the President of Slovetzia who sends one of his men to persuade her to come to Eastern Europe to teach his four children. But there has been a mistake as whilst Boris believes she is a professional teacher the truth is she is a beautician who was teaching a beauty class at night school. That is not the only problem as Boris is not only a dictator but is overly strict on his children and finds Joy's New York ways, especially always having the last word infuriating.
So I have never seen Fran Drescher in "The Nanny", in fact I am not sure I have seen her in anything prior to this, but I quickly realised that "The Beautician and the Beast" is a movie made for her fans. There is nothing wrong with that but it does mean that for those like me the movie ends up as a comedy update on "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music" and unless you are in a forgiving mood it can end up grating. It's not that it isn't funny there is some amusing writing, from Boris refusing to ask for directions when he is lost to the smart answers his children give when they are asked what the leader of the opposition is called but it all sorts of has just one level. And that level is driven by the New York spirit of Joy being ballsy up against the authoritative Boris.
Now despite all of this ending up too much I actually enjoyed Drescher's performance, ignore the full on New York accent which dominates the movie and her style of comedy is not to dissimilar to Sandra Bullock. Whilst the chemistry is not so good she does work well with Timothy Dalton who has fun over playing the role as Boris and is wonderful when he switches it from fearsome dictator to smiling friend.
What this all boils down to is that "The Beautician and the Beast" is a bit of romantic fun which probably has greater appeal for those who are already a fan of Fran Drescher and her particular style of comedy and character as otherwise it is just a full on comedy update of "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music".
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