Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/03/2005

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Lacklustre sequel that’s too long and not nearly funny enough but stays watchable thanks to Bullock’s engaging screen persona.

As enjoyable as Miss Congeniality was, it’s somewhat hard to believe that there was an audience of fans baying for a sequel. Still, when a movie breaks the magic 100 million dollar mark in the States, it usually means there’s a sequel on the way whether you want one or not. Accordingly, Miss Congeniality 2 is about as much fun as the Bridget Jones sequel and if that’s not damning with faint praise, I don’t know what is.

Picks Up Scant Weeks After Original

The movie picks up a couple of weeks after FBI Agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) became famous for thwarting a threat against the Miss United States pageant in the first film. As if being dumped over the phone by her boyfriend wasn’t enough, she swiftly discovers that her new-found fame is jeopardising her undercover work, so her boss (Ernie Hudson) talks her into getting made over again, in order to become “the face of the FBI” on the talk-show circuit.

Unfortunately, she starts to let the fame go to her head, much to the chagrin of the agent assigned as her bodyguard (Regina King as Agent Sam Fuller).

However, when a couple of Las Vegas goons kidnap Miss United States and MC Stan Field (Cheryl Frazier and William Shatner, reprising their roles from the first film), Gracie’s crime-fighting instincts kick back in and she is determined to save her friends, even - or rather, especially - if it means going undercover as a drag queen.

Astute sequel-watchers will no doubt have noticed that neither Michael Caine nor Benjamin Bratt appear in this film, though the telephone break-up scene is superbly acted by Bullock and is at least crucial to the plot. In place of Caine, we get Dietrich Bader as Gracie’s ever-present stylist, which isn’t quite the same thing, although he does get several good lines.

The main problem with the film is that it’s at least 30 minutes too long - the plot simply isn’t strong enough to sustain a two hour running time and the film runs out of steam way before the end. Worse, it just isn’t very funny - there are a couple of laugh-out-loud moments but they are few and far between.

Bullock Carries Film

Thankfully, Bullock’s likeable screen persona is enough to ensure that the film remains watchable throughout, although the writers are playing with fire by making her character a bit of a bitch in the early stages. Still, Gracie is a likeable character, from her snorting laugh to her silly jokes.

There’s also strong support from Regina King (Ray), who has impressive chemistry with Bullock and is, in effect, the film’s de facto love interest, as well as Enrique Murciano (from TV’s Without A Trace) as a sweet junior agent assigned to keep Gracie safely out of the way. It’s a shame, however, that William Shatner isn’t given more screen time.

In short, Miss Congeniality 2 is a disappointing sequel that could have been a lot better with a sharper script and a ruthless editor. As it is, it’s only intermittently funny, although there’s enough here to make you wish that Sandra Bullock made more movies than she currently does. That said, let’s hope there’s no Miss Congeniality 3.

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Content updated: 25/02/2020 08:53

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