Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Forget logic or reason or thinking. With plot devices that are there solely for the sake of making a joke but make no sense, this Sandra Bullock vehicle is surprisingly funny and entertaining. Adding immeasurably to the fun are Diedrich Bader (from TV’s “The Drew Carey Show”) as Sandra’s personal stylist, who transforms her from tough, uncoifed FBI agent to the glamorous new “face of the FBI,” and the pugnacious Regina King, who wants to beat Sandra up but becomes her unwilling bodyguard.

Even though it’s entertaining, some of these Hollywood people can’t keep their political persuasion out of their films. Right near the beginning it’s said that one character makes a point of mentioning that FBI agent Gracie Hart (Bullock) in the story told in the prior film, “Miss Congeniality” (2000), got press all over, and mentions CNN and MSNBC, pointedly leaving out Fox News. Given that these are undoubtedly product placements paid for by CNN and MSNBC, the average prime time audience for Fox News thus far this year is 2 million households, CNN's is only 775,000 and MSNBC isn’t even on the map, yet Sandra’s script mentions only the two left wing outlets, ignoring the “fair and balanced” leader. Hmmm.

But this is the only politically slanted item in this film that I can remember. The story isn’t even worth recounting because it doesn’t make any sense. Suffice it to say that one of Gracie’s compatriots from “Miss Congeniality,” Cheryl Frazier (Heather Burns), Miss United States, is kidnapped, along with the manager of the show, Stan Fields (William Shatner) and it’s up to Gracie to get them back, for which she must travel to Las Vegas. Arriving in Bugsy Siegel’s town, she comes face to face with the ambitious FBI chief, Collins (Treat Williams), who does not like Gracie and makes her life difficult, to say the least.

While there she encounters Dolly Parton in a segment without any connection with the flimsy story whatever. Then there’s Shatner’s connection with the plot. Well, I guess there’s a connection. After you see the picture maybe you can explain it to me. Like Dolly, Shatner’s character seems to have been created for the sole purpose of having him in the film.

I’m really surprised I gave this a seven. The script (by co-producer Marc Lawrence) is utter nonsense. The cinematography of Las Vegas is nice, but nothing to write home about. The film was enjoyable because I liked most of the performances, especially Bader, King, and Williams. Even Bullock gives an enjoyable performance as the FBI “princess.” If you can leave your brain at home, you could like this.

March 23, 2005