Main cast: Sandra Bullock (Gracie Hart), Benjamin Bratt (Eric Matthews), Michael Caine (Victor “Vic” Melling), William Shatner (Stan), Ernie Hudson (Harry McDonald), Heather Burns (Cheryl Frasier), John DiResta (Agent Clonsky), and Candice Bergen (Kathy Morningside)
Director: Donald Petrie
I would have been infuriated by Miss Congeniality if it were more deftly directed and acted and if the script were tighter. This movie is touted as My Fair Lady crossed with Lethal Weapon, but let me just say this movie is no My Fair Lady. In My Fair Lady, it is obvious Eliza Doolittle’s flaw is because of her gutter nature and lack of manners, not just because she’s “ugly”. In Miss Congeniality, Gracie Hart needs a Miss America makeover because she tries too hard to be a manly FBI agent and she doesn’t wear lipstick.
I can see the feminists taking out their stun guns now.
But nah, don’t worry. I would have been insulted myself if the story hasn’t waffled between trying to be a feel-good-bimbo’s-good crap or a Beverly Hills Cop-like comedy. The premise is Gracie Hart infiltrating the Miss America pageant to stop a bomber from giving the event added boom-bah. Hence, we have our incompetent smirky-faced Agent Eric Matthews and the rest of the male FBI agents ogling as Gracie is forced to wear padded bras and learn to be, er, more “woman”.
Sandra Bullock single-handedly saves this movie (she produces it by the way) with her charm. No matter what skeptics say, Bullock has screen charisma and her physical comedy timing is superb. But the material works against her badly.
At the end of the end, Miss Congeniality tells me, I’m not a woman unless I get a full-blown makeover (lipstick, perm, expensive dresses) and I subject myself to bikini waxing. And how I must give up trying to “one of the guys” in my job and just be content giggling and playing bimbo like Ms New Jersey. Only that way will a hunk like Eric start seeing me as a woman and date me.
Excuse me while I hemorrhage.