Publicity Stills of "Miss Congeniality 2"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Action/Comedy
Director: John Pasquin
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns, Diedrich Bader and Treat Williams
RunTime: -
Released By: Golden Village
Rating: PG

Release Date: 24 March 2005

Synopsis :

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, the sequel to the 2000 worldwide hit comedy Miss Congeniality, catches up with FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) shortly after she successfully disarmed a threat against the Miss United States Pageant while working undercover as a contestant in Miss Congeniality and became an overnight media sensation.

Things haven’t been going so well for her lately. Reeling from a broken romance and frustrated to find her newfound fame is jeopardizing the undercover work she loves, Gracie reluctantly agrees to serve the Bureau in the only way now possible: coifed and styled for the talk show circuit as “the face of the FBI.” Though resistant at first, Gracie soon warms to the attention and it’s not long before she’s getting into her new role a little too much. Her partner Sam Fuller (Regina King), a tough, ambitious agent who is clearly not her biggest fan, is the first to point out that the pampered Bureau star is turning into FBI Barbie.

But when Gracie’s best friend, pageant winner Cheryl (Heather Burns), is kidnapped in Las Vegas, Gracie’s crime-fighting instincts kick back in. Not wanting to risk losing their greatest PR asset, the FBI top brass forbid her to get involved and charge Sam with keeping her in line. But when it comes to breaking a difficult case and helping her friends, there’s nothing Gracie won’t do.

Movie Review:

It is unfortunate that this sequel came 5-years late as those fond memories of snort-happy FBI Agent been reconstructed into a Beauty Queen contender on an undercover mission to disarm a bomb threat, already faded. Nevertheless, this chapter produced by Sandra Bullock and Marc Lawrence (both also produce the first film) immediately refresh audience right at the opening, where Gracie Hart was reverted to her usual self, lacking sophistication and femininity.

Those who have watch part one may be earnestly waiting for more developments of the romance bits between Gracie and Agent Eric Matthew (Unfortunately, the charismatic Benjamin Bratt did not appear in this one). Instead, the romance was jeopardized, as the World is unfriendly to those who do not care for themselves. Obviously repeating the success formula of part one, a devastated Gracie is forced to get acquitted with make up, manicure, tight dress and hi-heels again, this time to become a public friendly FBI barbie.

As a result of this deja vu, there is a lack of character development in Gracie Hart, which left little rooms for Sandra Bullock to bring Miss Congeniality to greater height. However, the hilarious make over of Sandra Bullock into an old, wheelchair bound lady and a Tina Turner’s dancer with pinkish-tails costume have earned some laughter, if not positive points with
the critics.

The introduction of the stern and merciless FBI agent Sam Fuller (Regina King) as Gracie new partner cum bodyguard again causes more disappointment that there’s confirmed zero aroma of romance in the air. What’s left would be a women’s version of Lethal Weapon or Rush Hour, about two female cops (coincidentally one black and another white) while withholding their masculine vengeance with each other, try to balance their differences to rescue Miss America, also Gracie’s good friend, Cheryl Frazier (Heather Burns) and the pageant Emcee, Stan Field (William Shatner). There’s nothing much to comment about Regina King’s performance, given a sidekick role alongside Sandra Bullock. However, she blended in comfortably enough into the role which somewhat similar to the earlier Gracie Hart: loner, skeptic and anti-bimbos.

Gracie also has a new image consultant, Joel (Diedrich Dader) who works to ensure Gracie look best in the public eye. Diedrich Dader had pull off a lovable performance but most would still prefer Victor Melling (Micheal Caine), Gracie’s image consultant in part one, who has more depth in character and was also a sweet and motivating mentor to Gracie.

It is not difficult to guess what would be the ending. However, the showdown in this installment is more fun-packed than part one, probably due to more butt kicking sequences and a higher cost production sets. It would be better to end the movie after the showdown instead of the finale, which convey an un-inspiring lesson: You need not care what the World thinks of yourselves. The Bimbo’s “World Peace” speech in the previous film far surpasses this one.

With the great success of Miss Congeniality, one can’t help but making comparison between the two films. It is also understandable that due to the outstanding turnout of part one, audience may bear sky-high expectation on the sequel. Thus, it not surprising that most sequels of great movies usually turn out to be disappointing. In this case, the audience and critics may have shown more leniency if the title is “Miss FBI: Armed and Fabulous”.

Suggestion before going for this: Erased what you think of Miss Congeniality and this movie will never fail to entertain you with the clumsily funny character and of course, the fabulously armed Sandra Bullock!

Movie Rating: B -

Review By Leosen Teo

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