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Miss Congeniality

A 2005 comedy movie directed by Donald Petrie.

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Hilarious comedy of the ugly duckling turning into a swan

  • Jan 22, 2009
  • by
FBI agent Gracie Hart (played by the fantastic Sandra Bullock) is a real tomboy. In her own words, "I don't own a dress, I don't even own a brush". Yet when a letter comes from a serial criminal calling himself The Citizen, threatening the Miss United States pageant, FBI Agent Eric Matthews (Benjamin Bratt) must find an undercover female field agent under thirty-five who looks good in a bikini and isn't on Maternity Leave. His only choice boils down to Hart, who's violently reluctant to take the assignment. She becomes Miss New Jersey, the FBI finding out and ready to expose the original winner because of her appearance in an "adult film".

They notify the pageant director Kathy Morningside (Candice Bergan) and pageant Master Of Ceremonies Stan Fields (William Shatner) to assist them in fixing the pageant so that undercover Gracie makes it into the top 5. But Gracie needs a lot of polish before taking on the assignment. Kathy Morningside puts Matthews and Hart in touch with Victor Melling (the amazing Michael Caine) who is a long time, respected pageant consultant. Victor has only 24 hours to make tomboy Gracie into a beauty queen. Miraculously, Victor accomplishes his task, muttering to himself, "My God, I'm good!".

Once undercover, Gracie discovers that both Stan Fields and Kathy Morningside have been fired, the pageant wanting to cater to a younger audience and use younger public figures. When the DNA evidence suggests a woman licked the Citizen's envelope, Gracie suspects Kathy Morningside. But the Citizen is caught halfway through the pageant, and FBI director MacDonald (Ernie Hudson) wants to pull all the agents off the case. Grace refuses, knowing deep down that something is wrong and the girls are in danger. She continues alone, without her badge and gun, to capture whoever it is threatening the girls; who've gotten underneath her tough exterior and become her friends.

The cast of 'Miss Congeniality' is what makes the movie such a success. Bullock and Caine work well together, each delivering superb performances. The humor is light and frequent, so the show keeps you laughing all the way through. This is one of my favorite comedies, being a hardcore Sandra Bullock fan. It's very difficult to make Sandra Bullock "ugly", and the decision to go with "tomboy" instead worked very well. "Where am I going to put my gun?" Gracie asks, after finally accepting the assignment, and being told she HAS to wear the bathing suit. "Nowhere I want to know about," answers Matthews.

A little piece of trivia from the IMDB database: the dress that Sandra Bullock wore when she's coming out of the hanger was made out of rubber bands; when it was off, the whole dress fit in the palm of her hand. Sexy! This is a hilariously funny movie with a sweet touch of innocence, yet it manages not to become saccharine. It's a great pick-me-up if you're feeling blue. Even though I'm a horror movie buff, you have to cater to your lighter side every so often. I highly recommend this movie; it's definitely worth a purchase. Enjoy!
Miss Congeniality

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January 23, 2009
That tidbit came from the Internet Movie DataBase trivia notes. Very few women could wear a rubber band dress and make it look good, Sandra Bullock is one of them. :)
January 23, 2009
That fact about the rubber band dress is insane!!! I can't even imagine what that would feel like...or how they got it on her!
More Miss Congeniality reviews
Quick Tip by . March 07, 2011
Great comedy movie. Ms FBI meets Diva world! Funny and entertaining!
review by . January 03, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A terrorist attack on Miss America. What a hilarious concept! Miss Congeniality takes the idea and runs with it. Sandra Bullock is at her best in this movie, providing the anti-Miss America - smart, tough, and graceless. Her acting makes her character seem really genuine, flaws and all. I will never forget the absurdity of her "Swiss fruitcake" dress. The rest of the cast provides great support, from Michael Caine to William Shatner as pageant officials. Overall, this is a classic comedy that will …
review by . May 17, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
The title to this film fits Sandra Bullock perfectly in more ways than one. Not only does it refer to the character she plays in the movie, but it fits Bullock in real life, too, because she's one of the few down to Earth celebrity women in the business. Anyway, the movie is a great showcase for Bullock's comedic talents. However, it suffers from a loose and somewhat poorly written script. The film is supposed to be a comic action/suspense film, but severely lacks the action/suspense (think SPEED, …
review by . February 11, 2001
Pros: Very good when you can't find any others to watch. Don't forget this one.     Cons: None     The Bottom Line: My final recommendation? Just go see this one. This one will not let you down.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. While just sitting around and you don't have anything else to do on you Saturday. Try looking at the movie section and seeing the older movies that were out. The ones that …
review by . December 20, 2000
Pros: Some good laughs     Cons: Not the best story.     The tale of opposites attracting one another has long been a staple of Hollywood. One of the more famous examples was found in “Pretty Woman” when a Millionaire (Richard Gere) fell in love with a prostitute,(Julia Roberts) and despite all odds, ending up happily ever after. Over the years there have been several films that paired a seemingly mismatched couple, only to find them madly in love with one …
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I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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It's a good thing Sandra Bullock knows her strengths and weaknesses, because without Bullock as star and producer,Miss Congenialitywould be an insufferable mess as opposed to being a mildly enjoyable trifle that is custom-made for Bullock's established screen persona. Only Bullock's fans could really appreciate this fluff (even then they'll wish its ripe premise had been more intelligently handled), but it's not without some highlights to accompany Bullock's reliable charms. Here she plays clumsy, nerdy FBI agent Gracie Hart, who is given the horrific pseudonym Gracie Lou Freebush (one example of the movie's juvenile tendencies) when assigned to infiltrate a beauty pageant to investigate threats of a terrorist attack.

Transforming Bullock from frumpy to stunning is a piece of cake (although she gives pageant coach Michael Caine a run for his money), so the movie's premise is trivial at best. More enjoyable is her character's uncouth disdain for pageant contestants and her mistaken perception that they're all a bunch of bimbos. The movie nicely charts Gracie's realization that her own pageant makeover provides a much-needed ego boost. In addition to Caine's effortless scene-stealing, pageant host William Shatner and organizer Candice Bergen are smart choices for comedic support (Shatner's a perfect Bert Parks wannabe), but the movie desperately needs a credible foundation for its comedy to really pay off. Bullock's ...

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Director: Donald Petrie
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: December 22, 2000
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: March 15, 2005
Runtime: 109 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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