Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeniality

What he said:


It’s no secret that Sandra Bullock is one of my favorites.  I like to believe she’s this super fun person with all the charm of her characters.  In Miss Congeniality, Bullock plays a Tom-boy FBI agent who is forced to face her own prejudices and compete in a beauty, er I mean “scholarship,” pageant.  The movie also stars Benjamin Bratt, Michael Caine, William Schatner, and Candice Bergen. 

So here’s the basic synapses, in case you’re one of the few (I’ll assume male) people out there who haven’t seen this film.  The FBI is hot on the tail of a terroristic murderer whose next target appears to be the Miss United States pageant.  They need someone to go on the inside, and the crude and boyish Gracie Hart (Bullock) is their girl.  Pageant pro, Victor Melling, is forced to train Hart to be the woman she genetically is.  Can the FBI, with Hart, get to the bottom of this new threat before beauties from all 50 states meet certain demise? 

The movie is quite funny, although you’ll figure out in the first 10 minutes who the murder plotter(s) is/are.  But a predictable storyline is pretty much to be expected in a chick flick.  There’s some romance in this movie, of course, but the film is more about Bullock’s character learning how to be a girl and bonding with the other pageant ladies.  She seems to learn a lot about herself in the process.  This movie is a classic Saturday afternoon popcorn fest.  I always enjoy having the chance to watch it again.

Diagnosis: Thumbs up.

What she said:


Sandra Bullock has been around the movie biz for a while now. Despite that, I always got the vibe she kind of flew under the radar. Maybe it is just me, but before The Blind Side, I felt her talent was often overlooked. It’s not that people didn’t know who she was, but rather she didn’t get her due credit. That could be because outside of The Blind Side, she hasn’t done a whole lot of “Oscar-worthy” type of films. If that is the case, I think that is a shame, because I am a firm believer that lighter, more “everyday” types of movies hold a pretty important place in film history.

Think about it. How often do you pop in one of your favorite movies and it’s nothing more than something that makes you smile? Even if it’s not a funny movie, it’s something that entertains you and makes you feel good. How often is that movie an Academy Award winner? Not very often, I’m betting. While award winners may technically “better movies”, they have a much lower “re-watchability” factor imo.

Miss Congeniality is one of those movies. It is a very simple action-based comedy that delivers exactly what it is supposed and personally I value that trait more than any award. It reminds me of one of the many action/adventure comedies from my childhood that were never all that successful commercially, but struck a chord with me. Three Fugitives, Innerspace, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, I grew up thinking these were awesome. There was just something about that that appealed to my sense of adventure as a kid.

The movie centers on Gracie Hart (played by Sandra Bullock). Gracie is a tough, effective FBI agent, who gives the job everything she’s got. This wreaks havoc on her looks and personal life. So when Gracie has to go undercover at a Miss United States pageant, the hilarity ensues.

I first remember seeing Sandra Bullock in the action flicks Demolition Man and Speed. Both were definitely action movies, but allowed Bullock to showcase her affinity for comedy. This movie – while still having some action – is more of a comedy than the other two and really allows her to showcase her talents. Aside from the nostalgia factor I mentioned earlier, her performance is what really sealed the deal for me.

Rating: Thumbs up

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 2, 2011.