The Beautician and the Beast (1997)

(On TV, January 2000) This film has a rather big problem. It’s basically a rethread of The King And I with a satiric bite, with Fran Drescher as a sarcastic American “teacher” suddenly dropped in an East-European country ruled by a kind-of-dictator. Some of the funny bits work; Drescher does deliver a few fun zingers and the film does exhibit moments of cleverness whenever it tries to make fun of the basic premise. Unfortunately, the film takes itself much too seriously most of the time, and ends on a purely-straight romantic note, which doesn’t jibe with the sarcasm that had been, up to that moment, the best part of the film. Might be best watched as a dubbed translation, as no one can have a more annoying voice than Drescher…

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