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

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

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.