MISS CONGENIALITY 2
ARMED AND FABULOUS

Starring:
Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns, Diedrich Bader and Treat Williams

Director:
John Pasquin

Running Time:
101 mins

Out to buy on DVD 11/07/05

"FBI Agent, armed and fabulous"

Joel

Things haven't been going too well for Gracie Hart (Bullock) sense becoming the runner up in Miss United States Pageant. She can't work undercover anymore because people recognise her and her boyfriend has dumped her because of all the attention. To remedy this situation and to raise the profile of the agency, Gracie becomes the 'face of the FBI', touring the talk show circuit and even penning her own book. After ten months in the role, she hears the devastating news that her best friend and current Miss United States Cheryl Frasier (Burns) has been kidnapped in Las Vegas. Her crime-fighting instincts kick in and she heads to Vegas to solve the case, armed with her stylist team of course.

Five years after the success of the original Miss Congeniality, Sandra Bullock returns to the role of Gracie Hart but does she have what it takes to regain her box office crown?

Hollywood sequels very rarely improve on the original. Usually they are rehashes on the same idea only with a new villain or someone who wants to get revenge for what happened in the first film. 'Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous' happily doesn't follow this trend. Instead of revisiting the pageant theme of the first movie and all the hilarity of watching Sandra struggle again with fancy gowns and excessive makeup, this film shuns this to utilise a completely unexpected plot device, the female buddy movie plotline.

More of a continuation of the story than a sequel, we meet Grace again three weeks after the events of the original movie. The publicity surrounding her after becoming the runner up in the Miss United States Pageant is making it impossible for her to go undercover anymore. Utilising this newfound fame she becomes the face of the FBI and is assigned an overly aggressive agent called Sam Fuller as a bodyguard, played by Regina King. Of course the two don't get on at first but when the current Miss Untied States is kidnapped, the two have to work together to solve the case. This premise is completely different from the first movie and takes the series in a whole new direction. The movie is about the case and the relationship between these two women and there are no romantic distractions for either actress to get in the way of this plot device. This has been done many times before but very rarely with two female characters.

Sandra Bullock is a gifted comedic actress and the role of Gracie Hart gives her the chance to shine. Again we see the transformation from dedicated FBI agent into FBI Barbie, but this time we see the character become consumed by her newfound celebrity until her friend is kidnapped. There are quite a few 'do you know who I am?' moments that will get you laughing, as Bullock really plays with character's fame and pull in the public and within the agency. Gracie also gets the chance to grow as well, a plot device that is really used on sequels, as Hollywood tends to stick with what is already proven. Regina King gets the chance to be the tough girl as Sam Fuller. An agent with anger management problems that no one wants to work with, Sam is constantly agitated and on edge, just looking for someone to hit. King plays the character exactly right, not pandering to the notion that you should instantly like her but she is one that grows on you as the film progresses. It is the onscreen bickering and tension between the two that drives the movie and what makes it all the more watchable.

The supporting cast is also good. Enrique Murciano plays na´ve FBI agent Jeff Foreman with great gusto. Diedrich Bader is suitably over the top as stylist Joel. Treat Williams is as good as ever as the controlling Las Vegas FBI chief Collins and William Shatner, Heather Burns and Ernie Hudson return to their roles of Stan Fields, Cheryl Frasier and Special Agent McDonald, but don't get as much screen time as they deserve.

'Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous' has to be commended for not taking the usual sequel route. While the story might not be the most original in the book, the premise of a female buddy picture is and this is why the film works. Fans of the original will be very happy but this shows how a sequel can be different from the first movie and still be true to the original premise and characters.

PICTURE & SOUND

Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well.

BONUS FEATURES

Theatrical Trailer (2.20 mins)
Watch the preview for the sequel that promoted the film in cinemas

OVERALL

The inclusion of only a trailer for the DVD release of 'Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous' is appalling. Fans of the two movies will be severely disappointed with the lack of bonus features on this disc. Warner Bros should be ashamed, as this is a film that was crying out for extras.

DVD

Miss Congeniality


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2005