Projections - Movie Reviews

Beautiful Beautiful

Minnie Driver and sister Kate pitched an idea to Sally Field about an insecure woman who strives hard to become a beauty queen by following her dreams.  Driver's character, Mona Hibbard, is a person that one would use another film title for, Drowning Mona.

You probably have to go way back to Michael Ritchie's Smile to find a meaningful big screen feature made on the subject of women competing for top glamour honors, but nothing about the small town Illinois female protagonist and the increasingly incredible story makes one want to root or even care about Beautiful.

Mona shows her braces at a dental clinic and proceeds to enter a series of beauty pageant contests, run mostly by Verna Chickle (Kathleen Turner) who smacks her lips as she collects entrance fees.  Even though Mona continues to lose she doesn't give up.

The bland yarn further develops the passionate Mona yearning for a title even though she is the single mother of a smooth talking seven year old Vanessa, the Pepsi kid, Hallie Kate Eisenberg.

So Beautiful extends its backstage look without appealing to the satirical stance taken in last year's teen pageant shenanigan's in the dark, ill fated Drop Dead Gorgeous. Field's intended humor has no sense of pacing or timing or the power to justify its moral preaching.

Driver has been successful in Circle of Friends and Good Will Hunting, but as the obsessed Mona her performance is covered with lip gloss and is only skin deep.


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