Bomb Rating: 

I am now convinced that scientists, despite public outrage, have been conducting secret medical experiments on human beings -- because I consider this film proof positive that Sally Field has somehow received the brain of a donor chimpanzee. She directed this film and it is, literally, a metaphorical recreation of her "You like me. You really like me!" speech at the Oscars.

How else do you explain this festering swill? I'm considering making it my life's goal to get Sally Field to shit on my face, because it's pretty damn obvious from "Beautiful" that it will feel like warm sunlight shining down upon me and smell like a bouquet of roses. The story is about a screwed-up little girl named Mona Hibbard (Minnie Driver) whose only goal in life is to be a beauty queen, which in itself should have been plenty of warning to stay the hell away fromt he theater. When she grows up (and turns INTO Minnie Driver), she and best friend Ruby (Joey Lauren Adams) work together to make that dream come true. There's only one problem: Mona gets pregnant, and the Miss Junior Miss Pageant forbids its contestants from having kids.

The solution to this little problem should have landed Mona in jail. Mona and Ruby pretend that the little girl, Vanessa (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), is Ruby's daughter and not Mona's. That's some serious child abuse, because you know that whole ruse is going to fall apart the second Mona has to resolve her conflicted inner being. The only thing this film was lacking was some syrupy commentary from Oprah ("Find your spirit, Mona. Find it"). Although they keep saying that Mona is Ms. Illinois, I'd swear this film was set in Turkey, because in order to put Mona and Vanessa together for the inevitable heartfelt climax, Ruby lands in jail because one of her nursing home patients overdoses on pain killers and the authorities blame Ruby. They set her bail at $150,000 and toss her in the clink. Mona runs off to a pageant with Vanessa.

Also, I think there's little remaining doubt that Hallie Kate Eisenberg is the Antichrist. Clearly, there's something foreign and unsettling contained within that tiny little body. How else do you explain this little girl's omniscience? She knows everything! I mean, there isn't a damn thing in this entire film that little Vanessa doesn't take one look at and figure out faster than a professional psychoanalyst on methamphetamines. Ruby and Mona are sitting around trying to match dress and hat colors, while Vanessa is out solving the world's problems.

I had the unfortunate experience of hearing a couple of women comment about this film after it was over, calling it "a real chick flick", which is a patent insult to juvenile chickens everywhere. If forced to choose between seeing this film again and gouging out one of my own eyes, I'd gladly pop out the offending orb and treat the wound with a mixture od tabasco and gasoline, because that would surely provide far more emotional comfort than this colossal piece of celluloid crap ever could.

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