Format: Amazon Watch Party
Director: Ken Kwapis
Wait wait wait... Fran Drescher plays a sassy Jewish girl from working class New York who a well-meaning functionary mistakes as a great candidate for a child-rearing role for a powerful and wealthy handsome widower? What an entirely novel concept!
Look, you couldn't not be aware of Fran Drescher circa 1997. I remember my grandmother praising The Nanny at the time, and my own hip 20-something skepticism. But a couple of years ago I found myself watching re-runs of the show, and I was like "oh, I get it. She wants to be Lucille Ball, but in mini-skirts and leaning into Jewish stereotypes that I, as a WASP from Texas, can neither confirm nor deny." Frankly, for what it is, it works. I won't say the show is "smart" exactly, but it does what it does well, and I get how it lasted 6 seasons.
But... even in 1997 I was confused by The Beautician and the Beast. It's the same thing as what she was doing on TV. Like, pretty much exactly. The movie is even PG from an era where comedies were PG-13, but Drescher's comedy was always flirty, not going for overt sex comedy or working blue, and so felt sanitized for network censors of the time. So there's not even "we could never do this on TV" to separate the two. Drescher is quoted as saying she didn't want to challenge the audience too much as she moved to movies, but I'd argue - don't just ask them to pay for what they can see every week for free.*