Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeniality

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Since Sandra Bullock joined the A-list after Speed, she's picked some bad 'uns, especially comedies. Can anyone recall the sibling sisters in Practical Magic without wincing? Her best, A Time To Kill and In Love And War, were box office flops. Now she produces herself in a beauty contest spoof that is embarrassingly easy on the eye, just what you need after a hard day at the coal face.

Liking her helps. In fact, it's essential. She plays a butch FBI agent, who has the dress sense of an orangutan.

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The joke - there is only one - has a touch of the Eliza Doolittles about it. She goes undercover at the Miss United States Pageant in Texas to foil the dastardly deeds of an urban terrorist, who plans to blow the event to bits.

In order to be accepted as Gracie Lou Freebush, otherwise known as Miss New Jersey, she needs a crash course in etiquette from the queen of pageant consultants, Victor Melling (Michael Caine), who takes one look and has a fit.

"I haven't seen a walk like that since Jurassic Park."

Bullock is a good sport. She works on her grunty laugh and practices pratfalls in tight skirts. What she likes best is demonstrating martial arts on her male colleagues, especially ladies man, Eric (Benjamin Bratt), who fancies himself rotten.

Caine is hardly Nathan Lane in The Birdcage. His attempt at camping it up wouldn't fool a fairy. He's always an asset, however, not least for the dryness of his delivery.

Candice Bergen and Capt Kirk (retired) are on hand as support. She looks ravishing. He looks out of his galaxy.

After being compared to a car crash and called Dirty Harriet, Gracie survives the makeover and even gets to keep her gun. Bullock appears to lack vanity, which is unheard of for a Hollywood star. She likes doughnuts too, or is that Gracie Lou's fault?

Reviewed on: 20 Mar 2001
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A butch FBI agent goes undercover and learns how to look sexy for the Miss America beauty contest.
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Director: Donald Petrie

Writer: Marc Lawrence

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen, Heather Burns, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson

Year: 2000

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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