The Beautician and the Beast

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Fran Drescher's rise to fame is quite a miracle. Aside from just being your typical annoying New Yorker, she has a laugh that sounds like somebody is ice-climbing up the back of a baboon.

In case you were wondering, the way most telephone companies testthe impedance of their telephone lines is to stick Carol Channing on a phone in New York and Fran Drescher on a phone in Los Angeles and then let them have a whining contest for about an hour. If the lines don't melt, they are declared ready for use.

While it doesn't quite rival the formation of the universe, Fran Drescher's rise to fame is quite a miracle. Aside from just being your typical annoying New Yorker, she has a laugh that sounds like somebody is ice-climbing up the back of a baboon. She wears pants that look like they were melted onto her skin and is obviously old enough to be but one Snickers away from a tragic spandex accident.

To help herself along in the same twelve-step program that seems to have trapped both Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand, Drescher screams "I'm beautiful" in the role of Joy Miller, a woman who mistakenly ends up in a small Eastern European country teaching science to the children of a mean former dictator, Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton). Dalton, who used to play James Bond, speaks in a heavy "Russian" accent, except when he has to say something softly, at which point you can clearly hear his British-reserved voice trying to escape.

Does everybody end up happy? Of course they do. So don't be disappointed when Boris fails to send Joy to the gulag, or declines to beat his kids with the arm of a peasant. The only place you'll see that kind of creativity is in old Soviet army documentaries.

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