Beautiful (2000)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Screwball Comedy, Satire  |   Release Date - Sep 22, 2000 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Michael Hastings

Sally Field's woefully misguided directorial debut has so many things wrong with it, it's hard to figure out who's to blame. Maybe it's Minnie Driver, who turns in a relentlessly shrill performance as a bratty, would-be beauty queen who denies her own offspring. Maybe it's Field, whose direction begs us to sympathize with the lead when a more satirical, Election-style treatment would have been more appropriate. When all is said and done, however, the blame prize must be awarded to writer Jon Bernstein, whose script veers from screwball comedy to pathos to heartwarming family drama, taking a few lame stabs at satire as it hurtles towards a resolution more improbable than that of a low-grade silent melodrama. About the only person who emerges from Beautiful unscathed is Joey Lauren Adams, lending her irrepressible aura of common sense, however briefly, to the ludicrous proceedings. Coming just a few weeks after studio-mate Whipped, another of 2000's worst films, Beautiful would be the last official release from the ill-fated upstart production house Destination Films.