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THE BEAUTICIAN AND THE BEAST starring FRAN DRESCHER and TIMOTHY DALTON, with IAN McNEICE, PATRICK MALAHIDE and PHYLLIS NEWMAN

THE BEAUTICIAN AND THE BEAST is the story of Joy Miller (Fran Drescher), a beautician who teaches an evening course in hairstyling at a Brooklyn community college. When a cigarette dropped on a wig leads to a fire (hey, it could happen to anybody. . . ), Joy saves the lab animals kept in the building and achieves 15 minutes of local notoriety. Grushinsky (Ian McNeice), a representative of the leader of the small fictional Eastern European nation of Slovetzia, is visiting the United States, looking for a tutor for the leader's three children. Thinking Joy teaches science (apparently the Slovetzian government doesn't check the resumes of their teaching staff too closely), Grushinsky offers Joy the job, believing that it would be good PR to have a well-known American educator on hand. Joy takes the job and must now deal with Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton), the grim and humorless tyrant who rules Slovetzia. Joy's low-brow fashion sense and broad nasal twang of a voice don't sit well with Boris at first, but the kids love her; in time, she teaches Boris to lighten up and enjoy himself, and romance begins to bloom between the unlikely couple. While Fran Drescher had a number of film roles before her TV series The Nanny, this was her first starring role following the show's success. A funny, funny variation on THE KING AND I, with Drescher at her best and Dalton surprisingly deft at comedy himself.

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