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'The Beautician and the Beast'

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 7, 1997

In the annals of racy, romantic combos, Fran Drescher and Timothy Dalton rank just below Hagar the Horrible and his helpmeet, Helga.

Drescher, who coproduced this lumpen fairy tale, portrays Joy Miller, a slightly less nasal variation on the braying comic care-giver she plays on TVís "The Nanny."

Joy, an ambitious beautician with a voice that could grate cheese, travels to Eastern Europe when she is mistaken for an academic and hired to tutor the children of president-for-life Boris Pochenko (Dalton). A la Anna in "The King and I," the plucky Joy befriends the kids, tames the tyrant and brings democracy to the post-Communist dictatorship.

Dalton, the grimmest of the cinematic 007s, succeeds with a campy approach to his role of a dour, Cold War relic, but then he goes all dewey and Bambi-eyed when he realizes heís in love with Joy. Talk about gagging on your Goobers.

Directed by Ken Kwapis of "Dunston Checks In" and written by Todd McGraff, this cheesy hommage to the sweeping musicals of yesteryear definitely misses the sound of music. Although given Drescherís corrosive pipes, that is undoubtedly a blessing.

Contains extreme cleavage and tight pants.

© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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