When MISS CONGENIALITY came out, I remember how it got lukewarm reviews (at best) and did so poorly in the theaters that it was offered as a free pay-per-view film with the Dish Network. I assumed the movie MUST have been terrible for them to just give it away and I am surprised I actually watched it. To my surprise, however, it was most enjoyable...though mindless (at times).
The film is one of these ones that you simply must suspend all sense of disbelief--otherwise it simply won't work. Sandra Bullock going from tom-boy FBI agent to nearly winning the Miss United States pageant was a bit far-fetched to say the least. But, if you can do this and stop your brain from nagging you, you'll find that the movie is often delightful.
Now you may have noticed that I didn't say this was a great film or a must-see. The movie did have some rough spots (despite some people giving it a 10, this and very few movies deserve a 10). The biggest problem for me is that the setup for Bullock's character went way overboard. Sure, we are supposed to see her as a tough lady--I understood that. But they really went too far--often making her seem too tough to be real and, at times, unlikable. First, no lady who is built like that is going to be the Terminator....tough, yes, Terminator, no! Second, when she met the character played wonderfully by Michael Caine, it was as if the director gave her instructions to behave like a boorish pig. Seeing her eat with the manners of a Doberman was just too much--no one is THAT obnoxious when they eat (at least once they pass age 6). Third, the transformation was just too quick.
Now, aside from these difficulties, the film was a delight at times because although the script had problems, it also had some very witty dialog and a cute resolution. In other words, it worked despite its flaws. Partly this was because when not acting boorish, it's hard not to like Miss Bullock. Partly this was because she had some excellent support. And, partly this was because this is a silly little film and silly little films are not supposed to be Shakespeare or a Merchant-Ivory production--it's allowed to be slight yet fun.
Overall, a nice time-passer but far from a must see or a 10, though Bullock still "scores". Also, I've seen this one more than once and it holds up very well with repeated viewings despite its few deficiencies.
Action / Comedy / Crime / Romance
Action / Comedy / Crime / Romance
Undercover F.B.I. Agent Gracie Hart shows no signs of having any femininity in her demeanor or appearance. Generally a bright and capable Agent, she is in trouble at work when she makes an error in judgment in a case which results in a near disaster. As such, one of her by-the-books colleagues, Eric Matthews, who has never shown any inclination of thinking outside the box, is assigned to lead the high profile case of a terrorist coined The Citizen instead of her, while she is facing possible disciplinary action. Gracie pieces together the evidence to determine that The Citizen's next target will be the Miss United States beauty pageant. The pageant represents everything that Gracie abhors. Despite Gracie's mannish demeanor, Eric, with no other undercover female Agent remotely fitting the demographic, assigns her to go undercover as a pageant contestant to see if she can flush out The Citizen, who is perhaps one of the other contestants. Although the pageant administration, led by former winner Cathy Morningside and long time host Stan Fields, provide the F.B.I. with access to the pageant, Cathy in particular is less than thrilled to have a non-credible Gracie posing as a contestant, which she feels will ruin the pageant. The F.B.I. enlist the assistance of former pageant contestant coach Victor Melling, who is facing his own disgrace associated with the pageant, to do the nearly impossible task of transforming Gracie, not only into a woman, but a credible beauty pageant contestant. As Gracie proceeds in the transformation, she gets to know the other contestants, not only as potential criminals, but also as real people. She also discovers that another sinister element is present at the pageant. She will do whatever it takes to quash that element and protect her new friends, namely the other innocent contestants. But now displaying some femininity, Gracie begins to have more womanly feelings, and in turn, attracts the attention of men, one in particular about whom she is happy.
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