Anthony's Film Review
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Sandra Bullock plays an amusing character in an inspired plot...
The plot of Miss Congeniality is one that could work in a thriller or a comedy. It's about the FBI investigating threats to a beauty pageant and sending one of their female agents undercover as a contestant. It could work as a suspense film if there were actual beauty pageant crimes that would make the plot more realistic. But since that isn't the case, the only option is to make it a comedy. And you know what? I like this plot idea as something for a funny movie.
And there's another reason for it. Assuming that women in the FBI have to be as tough as men, having one of the ladies take on the role of a beauty queen presents a challenge. It's almost like forcing a man to cross-dress, but not as cumbersome. Still, when you have Sandra Bullock as FBI agent Gracie being assigned to be an undercover beauty contestant, there's the potential for laughs. Of course, I don't usually consider Bullock to be a comic actress, but she plays the role well enough.
She generates a couple of laughs when she is learning to walk like a lady and do other ladylike things, as coached by Michael Caine as an etiquette instructor. But during this process, another interesting thing happens. She becomes more attractive. Although she's not an ugly duckling in the beginning, she does snort a lot. And her FBI partner, played by Benjamin Bratt, notices this transformation into a swan. Of course, Sandra Bullock is already beautiful, so consider that an exaggerated statement.
Other characters include Ernie Hudson as an FBI director and Candace Bergen as a beauty pageant organizer. And don't forget the other people at the pageant. After all, in a film like this, there must be suspects. The way the story plays out isn't bad. It maintains enough interest to make you wonder how it'll end. So Miss Congeniality works as a comedy about a somewhat goofy woman and an average crime thriller, neither of which conflict each other.
For me, both elements added up to a good movie. I liked watching Sandra Bullock struggling to be a tough woman, a geeky woman, and a beautiful woman as if these three personalities were fighting in the same body. I liked the beauty pageant terror plot and how it ended. As I said before, I realize that the plot works best as a comedy and am glad it was made this way. Now, if you were to have a beauty queen turned FBI agent, it probably wouldn't be funny. But I digress. Sandra Bullock made the movie work, and I'll leave it at that.
For more information about Miss Congeniality, visit the Internet Movie Database.