When the local FBI office receives a letter from a terrorist known only as 'The Citizen', it's quickly determined that he's planning his next act at the Miss America beauty pageant. Because tough-as-nails Gracie Hart is the only female Agent at the office, she's chosen to go undercover as the contestant from New Jersey.
The last time I was this naked in public I was coming out of a uterus!
Miss Congeniality finds Sandra Bullock as FBI Agent Gracie Hart, who must go undercover in the Miss United States beauty pageant to prevent a psychopath from committing untold homicide.
The premise is simple, it's a Pygmalion/My Fair Lady scenario that transforms the rough and tough Gracie into a viable contestant for the pageant. Thus we have all the comedy that comes with her literally battling everyone, including her own opinions on pageants, as she is being asked to be something she doesn't believe is in her make up. The mystery of who the killer is who's on the loose is strong for a good portion of film, and even once it's known and drama takes centre stage, it's still hard to get the smile off of your face.
The jokes are plentiful, with Bullock finding chemistry with all of her co-stars. She's a very under valued comedy actress, and her ability to bond with an entire cast is marvellous to observe. Reference sexual tension with Benjamin Bratt, the jousting hostilities with Ernie Hudson, the way she bounces off of the other beautiful girls, and best of all the by-play with Michael Caine, who is playing a camp stylist and walks in to lift the laughter roof off the rafters in every scene he is in.
It doesn't push the boundaries of comedy, but it's thankfully a consistently funny piece of work, aided by a super cast on form who make a better comedy out of what the screenplay suggested it had any right to be. 7/10
Village Roadshow Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment, NPV Entertainment, Fortis Films, Warner Bros. Pictures by Donald Petrie, Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford, Caryn Lucas.
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen.
Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Romance
Keywords: undercover agent investigation beauty contest talent show behind the scenes fish out of water terrorism surveillance beauty standards beauty queen
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