Sandra Bullock continues to find her groove in the comedy genre in Miss Congeniality, a movie that plays off the ever-so-popular FBI undercover storyline. This time, Bullock is a gritty and ill-mannered FBI Agent who is assigned to go undercover at a beauty pageant as one of the contestants to stop a terrorist from killing the winner. With only 48 hours before the end of the show, she has to be trained how to become the perfect woman, and at the same time find the bomber.
I definitely think that Bullock works better as a comedian than anything else, and she really holds Miss Congeniality together. She manages to pull off a convincing performance as a rather disgusting FBI Agent and as a beauty contestant from New Jersey. Every line she has she pulls off with a lot of sincerity, and she knows how to warp a piece of dialogue into something funnier than it is on paper.
Kudos also go out to Michael Caine and William Shatner. Caine gives a better performance than he did in The Cider House Rules (of course, that is a completely different genre) as Bullock's coordinator who frustratingly tries to get her ready for the pageant. He has so many great lines in this film it is unbelievable. As for Shatner, he has a much smaller role as the pageant's host, but he plays as such an innocent idiot that even his expressions are priceless. There is one moment where Bullock trips on stage, and Shatner just bursts out on national television, "Oh, shit." Priceless. There is another scene where something goes awry and he just throws the funniest of smiles to the camera. Priceless.
The plot itself is very generic, as most comedies of this type go. Bullock becomes perfect a little too quickly, and the FBI Agents seem pretty relaxed about the fact that they only have two days to find and stop a terrorist (Benjamin Bratt's character repeatedly goes to work out during this time, and also has fun putting swimsuits on his boss via a computer, when he should be looking for suspects). Of course, there are a lot of really funny scenes that take place, so it didn't bother me too much. The bomber's identity is pretty obvious, although I never expected this movie to have a sincere twist, and the movie does not do a very good job explaining how the Agents come to the conclusions that they do.
There are a lot of seriously funny moments that had me laughing out loud and clapping my hands. I know that some people didn't like this movie for some reason for another, but Miss Congeniality is a funny and entertaining film that is 95% suitable for the entire family.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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