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Miss Congeniality

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Miss Congeniality

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Candice Bergen
Director: Donald Petrie
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: December 2000
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Heather Burns, Ernie Hudson, John DiResta, Melissa Desousa, Benjamin Bratt, Michael Caine, William Shatner

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

To bury this lackluster loser in the Christmas rush is folly but, then again, it was postponed from earlier this year. Sandra Bullock plays a cynical, rough-and-tumble FBI agent who, since childhood, has been a tomboy. So when a terrorist sends a cryptic threat that the Miss USA Pageant in San Antonio may be the next target, her boss (Ernie Hudson) and partner (Benjamin Bratt) rig it with the pageant director (Candice Bergen) to insert her behind-the-scenes by going undercover as Miss New Jersey. Problem is: she's such a klutzy mess that her pompous beauty consultant (Michael Caine) is aghast: "There's no way I can get this woman - dirty Harriet - ready in two days. I haven't seen a walk like that since 'Jurassic Park'!" Nevertheless, within 48 hours, a furious, reluctant Bullock is "Entering Barbie-town." As for the swimsuit competition, "The last time I was this naked in public, I was coming out of the uterus," she wails in her pink Gottex two-piece. Despite occasional laugh lines, the film fails because producer Bullock, director Donald Petrie and writers Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford & Caryn Lucas can't make up their minds whether to satire or be sympathetic to beauty pageants, going first in one direction, then another. With their perfectly clothed and coifed contestants, beauty pageants are tacky by nature, so how do you do one tastefully? Cliches abound - from the ugly duckling-into-swan routine to mocking the talent show to the eating disorders. Candice Bergen has the good sense to look uncomfortable, as does hapless William Shatner, cast as the local Bert Parks. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Miss Congeniality" is a pathetic, misguided 3. Sandra Bullock still has that winning smile but little else. Someone should give this misguided star/producer some sound career advice.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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