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Film / The Beautician and the Beast

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The King and Oy.

The Beautician and the Beast is a 1997 American family comedy film directed by Ken Kwapis and starring Fran Drescher and Timothy Dalton as the title characters.

The story follows the misadventures of a New York City beautician who is mistakenly hired as the school teacher for the children of the ruler of a small Eastern European country. The story is loosely based on The King and I, with elements of The Sound of Music, Evita, and Drescher's sitcom The Nanny. Despite the film's title, it has nothing to do with Beauty and the Beast nor is it set in the Disney Cinematic Universe.


This movie provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Princess Katrina falls in love with the youth rebel leader Alek. Averted with Joy, she only starts falling for Boris after he's softened up considerably.
  • Art Imitates Art: Prince Karl gifts Joy Miller with a painting he did himself ... of her naked imitating Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Slovetzian was a fictional Slavic language created specifically for the movie.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: While Boris and Joy are engaged in a political discussion, Joy is suddenly distracted by the president's sideburns being uneven, forgetting the point she was making.
  • Balcony Speech: Used as a parody of Evita.
  • Bald of Evil: The president's second-in-command, Leonid Kleist, is the closest thing the movie has to a villain. He dislikes Joy and her American ideals, and is against Boris's attempt to soften his beastly image.
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  • Blackmail: Being sick of Joy's influence over Puschenko, Leonid Kleist threatens to tell the president that she has been secretly assisting Princess Katrina to see the rebel leader Alek in prison.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Similar to her role in The Nanny, Fran Drescher's character of Joy Miller leans towards this trope as a teacher.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Prince Karl, who attempts to use his title to force Joy to sleep with him. Joy turns him down flat and scolds him for his behavior.
  • Defrosting Ice King: President Boris is trying to soften his image before the film even begins, but he fits the bill as a cold and beastly man before Joy successfully defrosts his frosty exterior.
  • Disneyesque: A Dream Sequence at the beginning of the film portrays Joy as if she was in Disney's Snow White.
  • The Dragon: Leonid Kleist, although Boris Puschenko is actively trying to distance himself from being seen as a Big Bad.
    • Dragon Ascendant: While Puschenko is mourning Joy's departure, Kleist steps in and starts forging the president's signature in order to drive out the Eagleland ideals Joy Miller brought with her.
  • Fish out of Water: What happens to City Mouse Joy when she arrives in the old country-esque land of Slovetzia.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The animated opening which replaces Snow White with Joy Miller, whom upon being woken with a kiss by her prince, tells him to buzz off and runs away saying she still has goals in life before she gets married, much less to a guy who kissed her while she was unconscious.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Joy has shades of this, as she risks her life at the beginning of the film to rescue all the caged animals from the burning beauty school, and later is unable to kill a live chicken and makes it her pet, instead (even sharing her bed with the bird).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Parodied when Joy convinces a chicken to allow itself to be killed for the good of Slovetzia, complete with the fowl laying down it's head to be chopped, crying patriotic tears. Of course, Joy is unable to kill the poor bird.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Leonid Kleist's justification for committing treason by forging the president's signature to wipe out the unionists, he honestly felt that allowing American ideals to influence Puschenko and the country would have ruined it.
  • Important Haircut: When President Puschenko allows his mustache to be shaved off, being another step in transforming his dictator image into that of a softer and kinder man.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In reaction to the painting Prince Karl made for her, she starts by saying 'she'll make sure to hang it in her' ... then he reveals the painting, a nude portrait of Joy as the Birth of Venus and finishes her thought with " ... attic!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Meta example, President Boris Puschenko is trying to prove to the world leaders that is not the dictator that his father was, and hiring Joy Miller as his childrens' teacher was a step in accomplishing that.
  • Market-Based Title: In Latin America the film was renamed The Nanny and the President, despite Fran Drescher playing a completely unrelated character.
  • Marry the Nanny: Joy is mistakenly hired to be a tutor for the children of Boris. They eventually fall in love.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Joy is hired to be a teacher for the president's children, but she's a beautician, not an academic teacher.
  • President for Life: Although he makes no effort to hide the fact his father was a dictator, Boris Puschenko prefers to refer to himself as "President", although there are no elections in Slovetzia so he is pretty much this. By the end the film, he denounces his "President for Life" status and allows his people a fair election.
  • Ruritania: Slovetzia.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The advice Joy gives Masha (Puschenko's younger, slightly overweight daughter) is not to care about anyone's negative comments about her, since she's basically a rich princess.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The massage scene is an obvious one to I Love Lucy, which makes sense since Fran Drescher is known for being a huge Lucille Ball fan.
    • When Joy's mother feeds her pet chicken chicken, Joy remarks in horror that it's Silence of the Chickens.
  • Talk to the Hand: Joy teaches this to President Puschenko.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Joy delivers one to Boris after the two visit a Slovetzian factory, where the latter receives tons of false praise from the workers, while Joy finds out the visit will force all the workers to have to stay late to make up the work they missed, receiving no extra pay for their effort and having no unions. She outright calls President Boris out that the factory is a sweatshop.
    • Happens again at the diplomatic dinner when President Boris decides not to release the rebel leader, Alek, because he is already gaining so much good PR that he doesn't need to anymore. Joy is quick to call him out that he was supposed to let Alek go because it was the right thing to do, not just because it would make him look good.
  • Written by the Winners: When it is found out Joy is not a real teacher she is told just to teach the children what is in their history books ... until she realizes Slovetzia history books are filled with lies and propaganda. She instead decides to teach them what she knows, like how to style hair or which shoes go with what outfit.