The Beautician and the Beast

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
The Beautician and the Beast Movie Poster Image
Dated '90s romcom has some stereotypes, innuendo.
  • PG
  • 1997
  • 105 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Family should always accept you. You're fabulous regardless of size. Stereotypes of Eastern Europeans as being uneducated and backward are central to the plot.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Joy teaches Masha to accept herself, no matter her size, and shows President Pachenko how to be a kinder person.

Violence

A building is accidentally lit on fire, a character is put in prison for his political views, and an underground group of rebels talks about fire-bombing a building.

Sex

Quite a bit of innuendo, including a joke about Katrina being desperate to have sex (which she confused with dating), multiple passionate kisses, talk about adult relationships, and numerous references to American women being promiscuous. Joy appears in a bra and President Pachenko without a shirt.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of characters smoke, including one who accidentally lights a wig on fire with a cigarette. Empty beer bottles are shown at a club.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in '90s romcom The Beautician and the BeastFran Drescher, star of the sitcom The Nanny, plays a beauty-school teacher who becomes a tutor. There's some dated content, including lots of characters shown smoking and some cringe-worthy stereotypes of Eastern Europeans that may be concerning to some parents. There's also a lot of innuendo, including jokes about sex and promiscuity, a few passionate kisses, talk of romance and adult relationships, and one comic scene of misunderstanding that shows two characters in a state of semi-undress.

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What's the story?

Joy Miller (Fran Drescher), a beauty-school teacher with big ambitions, is desperate for more than her working-class background can offer. After rescuing lab animals from a fire in her classroom and being heralded as a hero, Joy catches the attention of Grushinsky (Ian McNeice), aide to the president of Slovetzia. Searching for a prestigious American teacher to tutor the presidents' children, Grushinsky hires Joy to travel with him to Eastern Europe. As soon the brash American arrives, she clashes with the gruff dictatorial President Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton), who's still getting used to running a democratic nation. As the two spar over manners, family dynamics, and how to run a country, they start to find that maybe there's a lot they can teach each other after all.

Is it any good?

Fans of silly romcoms or of the show The Nanny may find a lot to like about this cheesy but sometimes funny flick. It's very cliché and predictable, with terrible stereotypes and even worse accents, but its characters do have a lot of heart. Still, if you find Fran Drescher an acquired taste, this is one romance you can safely skip. Drescher plays basically the same character as she did on the The Nanny: a working-class loudmouth whom you can't help but love -- unless, of course, you really can't stand her.

Tweens may enjoy the silly jokes and light romance, though parents may cringe a bit at the innuendo and dated content. But with so many romcom gems that came out in the '90s, this isn't one to rush out and watch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the portrayals of Eastern Europeans in the film. Do you think they were accurate? Did you find them funny?

  • Do you think it's OK to poke fun at other cultures and countries in a comedy? Why, or why not?

  • The title of the film references Beauty and the Beast. What other movies are referenced within the film?

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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