Miss Congeniality

"Weak"

Miss Congeniality Review


If the whole crew that made "Miss Congeniality" -- writer, director, stars, everybody -- were to get together for another movie, one with a less idiotic plot than a tomboy FBI agent going undercover at a beauty pageant, I'd be gung ho to see it.

The level of talent and the amount of good humor that goes to waste in this gimmicky, so-stupid-it-stops-being-funny star vehicle is phenomenal.

Sandra Bullock is said star, and her screwball (bordering on Lucille Ball) performance as a clodhopping, quarrelsome, graceless lout of a foible-prone FBI agent would be comic gold if the boat anchor of a story weren't dragging it down.

Bullock is amusingly credible as a kickboxing spitfire who prefers sweats to skirts, swills beer, talks with her mouth full and snorts when she laughs.

But, of course, she cleans up nice in an industrial strength makeover scene from which she emerges looking dead sexy, wrapped in a tiny purple dress that couldn't be tighter if it were painted on. She then takes a hair-tossing slow-motion runway strut and proves her comedy pluck at the end of it with a pratfall from her three-inch heels that would do Jerry Lewis proud. In short, she's funny. She's adorable. She's great.

But, oy! What she has to work with! Let me get this straight: A terrorist bomber has threatened the Miss United States pageant, so the FBI blackmails Miss New Jersey into dropping out so Sandy can take her place. (As if there wouldn't be a bitter runner up in the wings.) This is a more viable solution than beefing up pageant security and doing background checks? They couldn't put somebody undercover somewhere else in the organization? The pageant people agree to this? The other contestants aren't suspicious?

I'm willing to suspend disbelief for a less logistical comedy, but come on.

Even more faulty is the character of the mad bomber, who is such a cliché that he (or she?) types threatening "riddle me this..." letters while wearing ominous black leather gloves. Oh, brother. This baddie is never shown from the waist up, so it's idiotically obvious someone in the cast has a hidden agenda and some pent-up anger about society's obsession with beauty.

In a talented cast of very funny performances, who could it be? Candice Bergen, as the cynically high-hatted former beauty queen who now runs the pageant from her Helen Gurley Brown-like perch? William Shatner, as the aging pageant host being forcibly retired? Michael Caine, as the vaguely fay, out-of-favor contestant coach burdened with turning Bullock into a babe in four days? (The antagonism between these two is priceless.)

Maybe it's Benjamin Bratt, Bullock's seductive Bureau partner who finds himself suddenly turned on. (OK, probably not him.) Or could it be Heather Burns, as Miss Rhode Island, a bright-eyed and bouncy "Brady Bunch"-like sweet thing who's all gung-ho to be girlfriends with the surly new contestant? She does turn out to be a nuclear physics major, after all.

Director Donald Petrie goes a long way toward making up for "My Favorite Martian" here, but he still seems sadly dependent on pathetic plot devices to push his comedy forward. And the pandering political correctness that rears its ugly head (the movie is careful not to step on the toes of feminists or fashion slaves) contributes considerably to ruining the mood.

What say we let these folks take another stab at it with a better script, OK?



Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd December 2000

Box Office USA: $105.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $212M

Budget: $45M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Fresh: 48 Rotten: 67

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Gracie Hart, as Eric Matthews, as Victor Melling, as Kathy Morningside, as Stan Fields, as Harry McDonald, as Agent Clonsky, as Cheryl Frasier, Miss Rhode Island, as Karen Krantz, Miss New York, as Frank Tobin, Deirdre Quinn as Mary Jo Wright, Miss Texas, as Leslie Davis, Miss California, Asia De Marcos as Alana Krewson, Miss Hawaii, Ken Thomas as Agent Harris, Gabriel Folse as Agent Jerry Grant

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.