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The Beautician and the Beast

Director: Ken Kwapis Run Time: 105 min. Format: 35mm Rating: PG Release Year: 1997

Starring: Fran Drescher, Timothy Dalton, Ian McNeice, Patrick Malahide, Lisa Jakub, Michael Lerner

Over twenty five years before she would heroically lead the charge for the SAG strike, Fran Drescher starred as Joy Miller, a beautician who accidentally lands a gig in a made-up Eastern European country as a teacher for the dictator’s children. There her New Yorker brassiness clashes with the gruff leader Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton), who finds her meddling with the hardworking citizens (she urges them to unionize!) and her indulgence of his kids to be disruptive to his authoritarian agenda.

Coiffed and colorfully dressed not unlike her famed TV persona Fran Fine in The Nanny, Drescher is effectively hilarious, making The Beautician and the Beast a delightfully irreverent 90s version of The Sound of Music. This movie is way better than it has any right to be, and ages rather well!