sometimes it happens that you enter a
theater, take your seat, haul out your
paper and nifty lighted pen, get set to
watch a movie and take notes for your
review, and you look down two hours later
to a blank notepad.
was my response to MISS CONGENIALITY,
which could certainly have earned its
eponymous award in any movie pageant.
As light and airy as dandelion fluff,
pleasing as punch, predictable as death
and taxes, and as unmemorable as an afternoon
under sodium pentothal, MISS CONGENIALITY
would be a great movie pick when you need
to get your family out of the house and
off each other's nerves.
Hart (Bullock), 30-year-old FBI agent,
has to go undercover as Miss New Jersey
at the Miss United States beauty pageant-'scuse
me, scholarship contest-to catch a master
criminal who's bent on blowing up contestants.
A complete fashion disaster who's revolted
by the idea of becoming a beauty bimbo,
Hart resists the efforts of makeover magician
Vic Melling (Caine) to transform her into
a viable contestant. Though they go to
the well too often with the pratfalls,
these scenes, where Bullock cracks wise
and does her physical comedy thing, are
the funniest in the movie. Bullock does
this sort of thing nicely, but, as HOPE
FLOATS pondered, what becomes of old homecoming
queens? I can't see what kinds of roles
the future holds for a Bullock in her
40s and 50s.
fellow agent Matthews, Bratt is so just
another pretty face that one wonders why
Gracie would give him the time of day.
Caine is fun to watch, though he's done
this sort of thing much better before
(see DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS for scintillating
Caine as a man of taste and refinement).
Bergen's portrayal of pageant director
Kathy Morningside was shrill and winkingly
overacted, like she needs to let us know
that Murphy Brown is really above the
beauty pageant sort of thing. William
Shatner continues riffing on his own damn
self (see those ubiquitous Priceline commercials)
as Stan, Kathy's co-host. Heather Burns
was delightful as sweet, airheaded Miss
Rhode Island, who becomes Gracie's closest
for the story, like I said, predictable.
It's too damn easy to ridicule beauty
pageants and the women who enter them.
I haven't seen any of the recent movies
about pageants (DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, BEAUTIFUL),
so I don't know how MISS CONGENIALITY
stacks up. Farther from the ending than
you'd expect, the identity of the bomber
is revealed. This made me peevish until
I reminded myself that MISS CONGENIALITY
is not a suspense-thriller, not a police
procedural, it's a slapstick comedy.
what America needs now is a good $4.75
Bogucka, an Action Grrl!