Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1997. High School Sweethearts, Koch Company, Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Todd Graff. Cinematography by Peter Lyons Collister. Produced by Todd Graff, Hawk Koch. Music by Cliff Eidelman. Production Design by Rusty Smith. Costume Design by Barbara Tfank. Film Editing by Jon Poll.
Forget that the plot reeks of thievery from such well-known classics as The Sound Of Music, The King And I and all your favourite fairy tales, not to mention star Fran Drescher‘s own television show The Nanny; this film makes no pretensions to genius and is satisfying for that very reason. Whiney-voiced Drescher is terrific as a beauty expert who is mistaken by a foreign dignitary for a brainy science teacher, thus getting her an offer to tutor the children of the President of the fictional Eastern European country of Slovitzia. Upon arrival, she discovers a drab castle, unhappy children and a boorish leader (Timothy Dalton) who is as heartless with his family as he is with the country he is pretending not to be dictator of. Her charms, one-liners and hilarious voice turn the place around and teach Dalton to be a better man as well as a better president. Don’t worry though, there are still plenty of complications barring their happiness before the big finish. Engaging performances, colourful costumes and lots of small moments of joy make up for a very awkward screenplay that never does enough for its wonderfully charismatic and genuinely warm star. Dalton has a terrific time unleashing his inner goof, and watching these two play around with each other is endlessly fun. Written by Todd Graff (Angie), who also appears in a small cameo towards the end.