Entertainment: +1 1/2
Acceptability: -1 1/2

Noted actress Sally Field makes her directors debut in this jaundiced look at the world of beauty pageants. As far back as she can remember, Mona (Minnie Driver) has been entering, and losing, pageants all over the state of Illinois. But she dreams of winning the state title and competing for the national title of Miss American Miss. Her best friend, Ruby (Joey Lauren Adams), a nursing home care-giver, has been with her since they were schoolgirls. Together, they work on designing costumes, planning dance routines, and improving overall performance. Mona still feels forced to underhanded tactics to even get a chance at winning. At the age of 27 though, Mona figures out the system, and with Rubys help, wins the state pageant and sets her sights toward the national competition. When Ruby is mistakenly implicated in the death of a nursing home patient, Mona is forced to hit the road with her 6 year-old "niece" Vanessa (Hallie Kate Eisenberg). What begins as a sweet story of childhood friendship and achievement quickly deteriorates into a clichd and scattered mess that becomes painful to watch. BEAUTIFUL should have a short stay at the box office.

The first fifteen minutes are by far the most engaging and most uplifting. Mona, the victim of a tough childhood, is just one of those girls who has a tough time making friends. But she quickly bonds with fellow outcast Ruby, and their special friendship is bolstered by the kindness of Rubys grandmother. However, as the story proceeds, Mona seems to become a completely different person who will do anything to win the national pageant. She inexplicably becomes a selfish backstabber, even willing to walk all over her best friend, Ruby. Although she has a change of heart later, it seems trite and unconvincing. One scene occurs backstage at a beauty pageant and women are seen in various stages of undress, including one woman holding and covering her bare breasts as she tries to fit into an outfit. Foul language is light for todays PG-13 films with only 8 obscenities and 4 regular profanities. Unfortunately, this ugly bit of language and scenes of near nudity tarnish BEAUTIFUL.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: Destination Films, 1299 Ocean Avenue, 5th Floor, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Crude Language: Several (6) times Mild 4, Moderate 2
Obscene Language: Several (8) times - F-word 1, s-word 4, other 3
Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular 4 (GD 2, Swear to G 1, Sweet J 1); Exclamatory 4 (OG, OMG, MG)
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None; Near Nudity: Several times - (bikinis, women in underwear, women in low cut clothes, woman covers breasts with hands)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (woman accused of having sex with judges, contestant promoting abstinence acts in a sexual manner)
Drug Abuse: Few times (smoking, alcohol)
Other: Adult shows kindness to hurting child; beauty pageant contestants portrayed as self-absorbed, vengeful, shallow and lacking true character
Running Time: 112 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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