The Beautician and the Beast is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by Ken Kwapis. It stars Fran Drescher as a New York City beautician who is hired, under the false assumption that she is a science teacher, to tutor the four children of a dictator of a fictional Eastern European nation, played by Timothy Dalton. The film deals with the theme of cultural differences, and takes inspiration from other stories like Beauty and the Beast, The King and I, Evita, and The Sound of Music. Produced by Drescher's company High School Sweethearts in partnership with Paramount Pictures, The Beautician and the Beast was her first starring role in a film.
Drescher chose Todd Graff to write the screenplay because of his familiarity with her style of humor. She pitched and sold the project as a vehicle to transition her career in television to film. Filming took place in Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, California, and Sychrov Castle in the Czech Republic. Kwapis consulted with dialect coach Francie Brown to create the fictional language Slovetzian used in the film. Cliff Eidelman composed the soundtrack which features the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
The Beautician and the Beast was released on February 7, 1997, to generally negative reviews. Critics panned the story as more appropriate for a sitcom rather than a feature film, and called it a poor example of the romantic comedy genre. Drescher and Dalton received mixed reviews for their performances; Drescher was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. The Beautician and the Beast was a box-office bomb, grossing roughly $11.5 million against a production budget of $16 million.