U.S. Release Date: March 24, 2005
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Regina King, William Shatner, Elisabeth Rohm
Running Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sex-related humor)

Never Mind Bullock's Congeniality Sequel
by Scott Holleran

Over four years ago, Sandra Bullock starred in a pleasant movie called Miss Congeniality, which neatly packaged light romance, cops-and-robbers and a pre-Queer Eye for the Straight Guy makeover. It was the perfect showcase for nice, funny Miss Bullock, who produced it and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. But the sequel turns the original's benevolence into something malicious.

The story picks up three weeks after the first movie's ending, which is hard enough to remember. Recall that Miss Bullock's FBI agent Gracie Hart had learned to walk in heels, foiled the bad guys at a beauty pageant, caught the attention of fellow agent Benjamin Bratt—and managed to see to it that the tiara was placed on the new Miss United States. Fast-forward and Agent Hart has inexplicably reverted to her previously tangled and tarnished state.

And she's not about to feel pretty. Pretending that the original didn't happen, Miss Congeniality 2 proposes that Agent Hart—suddenly dethroned by her boyfriend—didn't like being girly, even after she got the hang of it. The script by Marc Lawrence, who co-wrote the first picture, puts Agent Hart in a funk. Failing to exploit the new setting—this time, most of the action takes place in Las Vegas, which looks as shiny as a new dime—the character lacks purpose.

Too recognizable in the field as that FBI beauty pageant heroine, Agent Hart's boss (Ernie Hudson) convinces her to become a spokeswoman for the Bureau, assigning an assistant to help. Enter power puncher Regina King, able to emasculate the patriarchy with one steel-toed boot tied behind her back.

King's hostile hardbody never loosens up and, together, she and Miss Bullock make Thelma and Louise look like Avon calling. As Miss—make that Ms.—Congeniality 2 bumbles along, Miss Bullock and King warm to each other while one more stereotypically flamboyant, promiscuous male homosexual—The Drew Carey Show's Diedrich Bader, deserving better—stands around to watch.

Why bother? Miss Bullock's character is as bitter as a day-old divorce. She's hunting a couple of (male) kidnappers who snagged her beauty pageant girlfriend—Hell hath no fury like a sister scorned—and she's dogged by the (male) FBI chief in Vegas (Treat Williams proving that women aren't the only sex clawing for good roles). The lone male who isn't pushing women around is a blithering idiot (Enrique Murciano) and even he incurs their wrath, causing the salt and pepper pair to threaten to blow his brains out. The action finishes at a female impersonator club.

Agent Hart's detective work is reduced to tackling Dolly Parton—Hart is on top—and the rambling plot safely peters out. For most of the movie, King's hardened agent and Miss Bullock's formerly likeable Gracie Hart punch, pounce, kick and make up, and, when they do, our Miss Congeniality may have made new friends—and taught a girl to embrace her inner Ugly Duckling—but she has managed to lose her sense of humor, her man and her congeniality.

DVD Notes
Deleted scenes—dubbed additional scenes here—are truly superfluous and in the comic spirit of Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. Without printed materials, this widescreen DVD is a basic edition with subtitles and standard packaging.

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