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"Beautiful" on DVD

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly

by Johnny Bray

Sally Field's directorial debut is a worthless piece of liberal feminist trash that glories in its hero's lack of character, then beats you over the head with its dogma.

Beautiful should have starred the Spice Girls, because it's the biggest "girl power" movie I've ever seen.

It does, however, star Minnie Driver, which pretty much tells you how much of a chick flick it is. The movie is about a young girl whose dream is to grow up and win the "Miss American Miss" Pageant. But it really doesn't matter what they called it, because it's just the "Miss America" Pageant, only without the rights to the name.

Poor Mona Hibbard. As a girl, the only award she could win was the "most unique outfit" trophy. Of course, that was okay with her, she was just happy she won something. And it was all due to her befriending a sweet young girl named Ruby (played, when they grow up, by Joey Lauren Adams).

Ruby and her grandma are the first people to ever be nice to Mona, so naturally she stays friends with them forever. Ruby's such a class act that she even pretends Mona's bastard daughter is her own, because "mothers and legal guardians can't participate in the pageant."

What kind of a human being would even consider allowing (let alone allowing) her best friend - let alone her own flesh and blood - to completely reshape their lives so that one horribly selfish person can avoid facing her own reality? Well that's the kind of movie "Beautiful" is.

As one would expect, Mona's daughter is played by that "adorable" little Pepsi girl, Hallie Kate Eisenberg. Even though she's cute, she really got on my nerves. She yells way too much, and her voice isn't really accustomed to screaming (yet). It sounded almost like a car with really bad brakes coming to a stop at a busy intersection. It's only 'cause she's so damn cute that she can get away with that.

Even cuter though, is Adams. She just has this on-screen sweetness that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (which, in turn, makes your flesh crawl on the outside). She plays the part of the winsome, innocent little girl perfectly.

What I didn't understand was the side plot. Ruby is accused of murdering a patient at a hospital, which she didn't, and is in jail until right after Mona wins the pageant. Then, miraculously, she walks out a free woman!

The only reason they threw that in, apparently, was so that Ruby wouldn't be able to go along to LA for the pageant, and Mona's maternal instincts would finally be forced to kick in. Then, and only then, will her relationship with her birth daughter be saved.

Doesn't it make you sick?

I got suckered into thinking that this movie was a comedy. It even says it's funny on the DVD's box. Really. Rosie O'Donnell, that paragon of hypocritical liberal virtue, is quoted as saying it's "Funny, touching. A cool chick flick. I really loved it."

That should have been a warning...

The movie isn't funny. It's ugly. It celebrates navel-gazing personal ego at the expense of all else. It's so typically liberal: Mona's actions shout "I'm okay and anything I do is okay and screw everyone else" (at least she was up front about that, unlike traditional modern liberals who only act like that while preaching caring, fairness, and everything else that's warm and fuzzy).

More unbearable than most aspects of the movie, was that it has the length of a suspense film, not of a comedy. Most comedy films tend to cash out at about an hour and a half. This one runs 112 minurws (but it actually seems a lot longer).

Overall, this movie gets about eight thumbs down. I think Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons said it best: "This is lying: 'That was a well thought out piece of non-claptrap that never made me want to retch.'"

The DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, and with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (there's a pan&scan version on side two). Audio and video quality are far better than the film deserved. Extras are fortunately limited to talent files and trailers, which lets you put the disc into the bin that much sooner.

Beautiful, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
112 minutes, Widescreen (1.85:1)16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Minnie Driver, Joey Lauren Adams, Hallie Kate Eisenberg
Produced by Jon Bertolli and B.J. Rack
Written by Jon Bernstein, Directed by Sally Field.


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Updated May 13, 2006