This might be a bit of a random one. I initially watched The Beautician and the Beast (1997) in order to review it for the world-famous Shitfest over at Isaacs Picture Conclusions, but concluded that it wasn’t romantic enough for the Valentines’ Day Edition (I ended up going with On The Line – which wasn’t much better). I felt like I had wasted my time and had nothing to write about it, until I started thinking about it on the train the other day.
In terms of the story, Fran Drescher is working as a teacher in a beauty school in NYC, when one day she is approached with a tutoring job for a mysterious overseas client who thinks she is an academic teacher. She accepts the job, and the recruiter realises his mistake once she has arrived and clearly isn’t fit for the job. She then has to hide her true identity from the client – President Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton) of Slovetzia. Hilarity and romance ensues!
- The film is like an almost-two hour long episode of The Nanny set in a post-communist dictatorship, combined with elements from The Sound of Music (1965) and The King and I (1956). Sounds like an interesting mix but the whole film is fairly tedious and predictable.
- I can’t stress how similar to The Nanny this film is. The plot even sounds the same, but interchange ‘academic tutor’ with ‘nanny’ and ‘President Boris Pochenko’ with ‘fancy British guy who organises musical theatre’.
- The romantic tension is also of a similar tone to the show, but is a lot less effective as the chemistry is comparatively lacking and there isn’t much space to explore it.
- Timothy Dalton stoops really low for this one. He looks like a young Stalin though. I like him as James Bond but he can do better than this. He does a good job at eventually making a grumpy dictator kind of likeable in the end, though.
- This also seems random but I really appreciated the detail that went into setting up the pretend government of Slovetzia. Lots of interesting flags and mascots.
- It’s technically a comedy but the humour has dated badly. I laughed out loud once, at a joke that was located at the very end of the film.
- I think there were at least two “talk to the hand” jokes, just to give an example of the dated humour. So 90s.
- The film actually dealt well with the idea of and importance of multiple intelligences. Even though Fran Drescher’s character doesn’t have booksmarts and can’t necessarily teach the kids much related to academia, she does have social awareness and emotional intelligence that assist her in teaching Timothy Dalton’s kids about how to interact with others respectfully and be more aware of their surroundings. That’s as far as my analysis of this film goes. That part of the film was actually kind of nice.
- It seems like an easy shot to talk about Fran Drescher’s laugh and nasal voice, but I think if you’ve seen two minutes of any episode of The Nanny then you’ll know what you’re in for.
- This film currently sits at 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. That figure makes sense because I think I only enjoyed about 17% of the film.
- Now I’ve seen this twice – once when I was ten, and once as a full grown adult lady. I think that when I was a kid I thought it was silly and predictable, so my opinion hasn’t really changed. At least this film is consistent over time.
- Long story short, don’t bother with this one unless you’re aiming to review some bad films.
- I wonder if anyone has actually thought about this film independently post-1997. I wonder if anyone has conversations like, “Do you remember that film The Beautician and the Beast? Whatever happened to that film?”. These are the thoughts that keep me awake on the train.
Watch this film at Amazon!