Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

For a while Sandra Bullock, the girl who drove the bus in Speed, was the thinking man's dream squeeze. She appeared outspoken, independent minded, apparently underwhelmed by Hollywood's partygoround. And then she blew it by making a succession of terrible movies.

Miss Congeniality came out in 2000 and (phew!) stormed the box office. Here was Bullock discovering winning ways, as well as a sense of humour. In it she played Gracie Hart, a scruffy FBI agent, who went undercover at a Miss United States beauty pageant. The running gag was how to turn this tough girl fashion wreck into something resembling grace and favour.

The sequel starts where the other left off. Hart is a national celebrity, her love interest (Benjamin Bratt) has done a runner and she's back chasing bad guys, except her fame keeps getting in the way and messing up operations. It is decided to take her off active duty and turn her into "the face of the FBI," another makeover joke, with action added, like Jackie Chan in a skirt.

Bullock's doing what she did before, only snorting less. Hart laughs through her nose, which makes a sound like a pig in a trough. As noises go this is in the same pleasure zone as a flatulent donkey. Sensibly, nasal guffaws have been axed from the second Miss C.

The film's weakness lies in its storyline, which is knotted with sub-plots. Miss America, a silly girl who became Hart's friend first time round, is snatched with one of the beauty pageant's hosts (reprise for a bloated William Shatner to further embarrass the Star Trek fan club). Although Hart's role in the FBI has become purely public relations, she disobeys orders and starts her own investigation into the kidnapping.

In many ways, this is no worse than Rush Hour 2 and certainly better than Beverly Hills Cop III. Although strictly formulaic, it has Regina King in the role of Sam Fuller, a new recruit at the bureau, who makes up for her diminutive size with an attitude akin to a rabid rottweiler. As Hart's bodyguard/minder, she takes this movie, flings it over her shoulder and stomps on it. At the end, with the prospect of these two as a female Starsky and Hutch, Miss C 3 looks a decided possibility.

The conclusion is that the franchise has legs on condition Mz King stays in post. Bullock on her own is too self-conscious and unsubtle. She likes large gestures, preferably telegraphed in advance to cue the laugh lines. As for Capt Kirk, will someone please put him out to grass.

Reviewed on: 25 Mar 2005
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Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And 
Fabulous packshot
Return of Sandra Bullock as the scruffy FBI agent with the makeover.
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Director: John Pasquin

Writer: Marc Lawrence

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns, Diedrich Bader, Treat Williams, Abraham Benrubi, Nick Offerman, Eileen Brennan

Year: 2005

Runtime: 115 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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