Miss Congeniality Movie 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?


Comments

Miss Congeniality Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, Opened: Friday, December 22, 2000

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

First Pictures Of Disney’s ‘Into The Woods’ Starring Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp

Have you ever wondered what happened to Cinderella, Rapunzel and...

First Pictures Of Disney’s ‘Into The Woods’ Starring Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp

Win Tickets For V Festival 2014 in Chelmsford!

V Festival is getting ever nearer and tickets are quickly selling out, but you can skip that pricey entrance fee by entering our new competition...

Win Tickets For V Festival 2014 in Chelmsford!

Ariana, Zooey, J-Lo, Miley! When Actresses Become Songstresses

Jenny Lewis isn't the only former actress to find musical success.

Ariana, Zooey, J-Lo, Miley! When Actresses Become Songstresses

Critics Say 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Is Great, But Does Anyone Disagree?

The new Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy has been praised to the...

Critics Say 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Is Great, But Does Anyone Disagree?

What Do We Know About Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?

Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey made a surprise visit to the San Diego Comic-Con last...

What Do We Know About Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?
Advertisement

Jennifer Lawrence Is Hollywood's Darling - How Has She Done It?

A teaser trailer for Jennifer Lawrence’s new film, The Hunger Games...

Jennifer Lawrence Is Hollywood's Darling - How Has She Done It?

NBC News Host Brian Williams Pulls Ultimate Embarrassing Dad Trick Announcing Allison Williams' "Peter Pan" Casting

NBC’s production of Peter Pan has found its lead in Girls star Allison Williams...

NBC News Host Brian Williams Pulls Ultimate Embarrassing Dad Trick Announcing Allison Williams'

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: Sponge Out Of Water 3D

When a pirate gets his hands on a long lost magic book in which anything he writes comes true, he...

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: Sponge Out Of Water 3d Trailer


More recommendations

Advertisement