I love Sandra Bullock and with good reason. She can make
a movie seem a lot better than it really is. Such is the case with Miss
Congeniality. In this film, Bullock plays an FBI agent who is
one of the boys. Actually, she's a lot less couth than one of the boys.
She bears a close resemblance to Mick "Dogbreath" Belker on Hill
Street Blues. Anyway, the FBI has reason to believe that a deranged
killer is planning to murder a contestant at the Miss United States Beauty
Pageant. Someone has to go undercover and Bullock gets the job.
In order to get her in shape to be a believable beauty pageant contestant,
a consultant (Michael Caine) is hired to give her a makeover. Bullock
at first resists but then wholeheartedly accepts the idea of being a beauty
queen. This is all a bit far fetched but Bullock pulls it off and Miss
Congeniality is a nice little comedy with a fair number of laughs. It starts
off a bit slowly with scenes of Bullock and her fellow FBI agents including
Benjamin Bratt. These scenes are meant to be funny but the boorish
behavior of the FBI agents is a bit too real. Once Bullock makes the conversion
from killing machine to killer good looks, the movie picks up speed.
Caine is good as the old and bitter pageant consultant but he could do
this role in his sleep. Also in the cast are Candice Bergen as a
former Miss United States who now runs the pageant, and William Shatner
does a scarily good impersonation of an aging Bert Parks. It's nice to
see Bergen but she's just doing a riff on her Murphy
Brown character. Bratt, best known for his stint on Law
& Order, doesn't have to stretch much to play an FBI agent.
Robin wants me to mention his nice swimming scene. The plot gets
more convoluted as time goes on but it really doesn't matter. What makes
this movie a success is Sandra Bullock. Her efforts to fit in as
Miss New Jersey are funny and sweet. There are lots of amusing moments
as she progresses through the evening gown, and bathing suit competitions,
and learns to wish for World Peace more than longer sentences for repeat
offenders. It won me over and as everyone knows I don't like comedies.