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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.07%
Worth A Look39.31%
Average: 24.14%
Pretty Bad: 4.83%
Total Crap: 9.66%

8 reviews, 97 user ratings

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Miss Congeniality
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by EricDSnider

"Sandra Bullock is dependable; her filmmaking choices, not so much"
3 stars

If anyone deserves the "Miss Congeniality" award, it's Sandra Bullock. Too bad this confused, half-witted film doesn't even come in as a finalist.

This movie has William Shatner. In a perfect world, that would be enough of a review right there, and we could go home.

Alas, the world is not yet perfect, as evidenced by the continued proliferation of limp, muddled comedies like "Miss Congeniality." Remember how everyone loved Sandra Bullock a few years ago? She's still plenty likable -- she's the major bright spot in this little fiasco -- but she's got to start choosing better scripts. (She produced "Miss Congeniality," too, which just makes her more culpable.)

Bullock plays Gracie Hart, a slovenly FBI agent with the manners of Homer Simpson who chews with her mouth open and snorts when she laughs. When a terrorist who calls himself The Citizen threatens the upcoming Miss United States pageant (once again, the folks at Miss America are apparently too humorless to let their name be used in a film), cocky Agent Eric Matthews (Benjamin Bratt) asks Gracie to go undercover as a contestant.

Gracie flatly refuses at first, on the grounds that beauty pageants are full of bimbos who set the women's movement back several decades. She changes her mind, though, when ... um, well, for no reason, really. She changes her mind because if she didn't, the movie would be over before it even started.

She'll take some work, though, so fey pageant consultant Vic Melling (Michael Caine) is called in to prettify her. With only two days before the pageant, he has to work extremely fast ... but he does it! And she's good to go with just moments to spare.

Gracie infiltrates the pageant pretty well, becoming friends with the contestants and trying to figure out if The Citizen has an insider working the job for him. In the process, she comes to respect the girls and to see the value in beauty pageants.

And there's the film's No. 1 problem: It can't decide if it wants to make fun of beauty pageants or celebrate them. Most of the movie takes potshots at the so-called "scholarship programs," with standard jokes about all the contestants wanting world peace and throwing up everything they eat. Then, in the last couple reels, all of a sudden these are real people, not just two-dimensional cut-outs, and the plot gets derailed in order to show us a whole bunch of the pageant. What's the point? That pageants are OK after all? Maybe that's true, but even if it is, so what?

Also, the plot is extremely questionable. It's one thing to be far-fetched -- we'll put up with a lot in a broad comedy -- but it's quite another to be so absurd as to render the film utterly unbelievable. The FBI tells the network and the pageant officials that there's been a bomb threat, but they refuse to cancel the event. That in itself is unlikely, but then there's the fact that nothing about this danger leaks out to the media or to the contestants.

It's pretty convenient, too, that Miss New Jersey had to drop out of the pageant just in time for Gracie to take her place under a false name. (And no publicity around that? No media scrutiny on this new woman from out of nowhere who becomes the new Miss New Jersey? Shouldn't there have been a runner-up who would take the real beauty queen's place?)

The aforementioned William Shatner gets a few laughs as the fatuous pageant announcer; Candice Bergen, as his high-strung sidekick, does not fare so well. Caine has some amusing lines -- "I haven't seen a walk like that since 'Jurassic Park,'" he says upon seeing Gracie move -- and it's nice to see him doing something at his level (i.e., mediocre), rather than films that are too amateurish ("Get Carter") or too hoity-toity ("The Cider House Rules"). Benjamin Bratt stands around in order to be Gracie's reluctant love interest.

Sandra Bullock herself continues to be affable; in fact, she seems entirely above the mawkish proceedings in the film, like she never fits in with the rest of the cast. If anyone deserves the "Miss Congeniality" award, it's her. Too bad the movie she's in doesn't even rank as a finalist.

It's one thing to be far-fetched -- we'll put up with a lot in a broad comedy -- but it's quite another to be so absurd as to render the film utterly unbelievable. Also, I stand by my belief that a comedy should be funny.

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originally posted: 01/08/01 11:50:41
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User Comments

5/23/13 Jamie Loved it! Michael Cain, Bill Shatner, Candice Bergen, hillarious! 5 stars
7/23/11 art WACH the PROPOSALfrom 2009,for a better S.BULLOCK VEHICLE! 1 stars
2/20/11 Ark Not great, but cute and entertaining! 4 stars
10/08/09 Kay D. This is one of my most favorite movies. Not amazing, but not bad. 4 stars
6/30/09 art LAME! 1 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner Wonderful story. 4 stars
3/28/08 EY World peace! 3 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White Best movie for Sandra she makes such a transformation 5 stars
2/14/07 johnnyfog See this is the reason a lot of us hated Bullock for a long time 3 stars
2/02/07 William Goss Lightweight yet amusing enough to tolerate. Caine helps a great deal. 3 stars
6/01/06 drydock54321 nice refreshing and fun 5 stars
5/31/06 Ashley Hinz Michael Caine is unforgettable. 5 stars
4/04/06 kenzie the greatest ever i watched it over 10 times in 2 days 5 stars
2/02/06 Alyssa Waters A great movie and has gave me the power to be what I want to be! 5 stars
11/15/05 kellie i love sandra bullock shes the bast and he movie 5 stars
8/24/05 tony It was so funny. it was very good. 4 stars
4/10/05 judith anderson story moves well. good acting. VERY funny!! 5 stars
2/05/05 goatfarmer yeah, yeah, yeah, yes! 4 stars
1/10/05 Lucas Stenz A lot of product placements; still cute 2 stars
12/05/04 kayla that movie was funny 5 stars
10/09/04 Casey Great movie! Very Funny! A must see 5 stars
8/17/04 Herolder Fun and entertaining 4 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz I liked it???? 4 stars
7/20/04 godan Wow does Sandra look great here! 4 stars
7/18/04 Jen C. funny and cute! 4 stars
7/17/04 Raymond Lee a vert funny movie 4 stars
7/09/04 Jack Sommersby Wonderfully entertaining. Bullock and Caine shine, and the film is ingratiating. 4 stars
4/24/04 J Entertaining and mildly funny! 4 stars
4/23/04 Andy Schwarz great 5 stars
3/31/04 Dani Barolo fantastic, best movie ive seen 5 stars
12/28/03 Chris Funny, Funny, Funny. Proves again why I love Bullock. 5 stars
11/16/03 John Bale Much depends on Sandra which finally wilts this modest comedy 3 stars
10/16/03 LEGALLY BLONDE Sandra Bulimic again does the cinematic form of barfing on us. 1 stars
10/05/03 Heather Purplethorne Yes, I sure do miss the congeniality that isn't in this movie! 1 stars
7/07/03 R.W. Welch Just gets by until the finale which is something of a hoot. 3 stars
5/20/03 Shadaan Felfeli Bergen looks EVIL right through the much for suspence.Unintelligent yet hillarious 4 stars
3/30/03 HE great 5 stars
3/30/03 Nanc S. I enjoyed it so much, I watched the encore presentation! Anything with Bullock is great!! 5 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby Funny and, yes, heartwarming. Bullock is sensational. Only action parts are lame. 4 stars
1/20/03 Film Liker Outstanding! Fun Movie - that's all that counts! At least Sandra had real WORDS to speak 5 stars
12/21/02 palaboy101 Sandra Bullock was a perfect fit! 4 stars
11/18/02 Chris Walker i love it she is so hot!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/22/02 danielle clooney its really funny 5 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi cool 4 stars
3/19/02 Natalie Stonecipher To make sense of the title, think of "miss" as a verb. 2 stars
3/02/02 Chowie fun 4 stars
1/16/02 jessica i love this moviee 5 stars
1/14/02 Flick Chick hello? 1 stars
11/28/01 Trish Whelan I loved this movie and every other one Sandy did!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 5 stars
11/26/01 Smoogles Lighten up people, it's a funny movie!! 4 stars
11/17/01 The Moorhen Not too bad. Nice to see William "Kirk" Shatner again. Bullock should get a boob job. 4 stars
11/13/01 Bada Bing Crosby Forgotten the minute it was over. Bullock is coasting thru her (AHEM) career 3 stars
11/12/01 Gracy Lionheart Predictable + Boring? A horrible combination present in this poorly written film. 1 stars
11/05/01 CrunchyFrog Sandra Bullock? How'd she make it past the talent portion? Not to mention swimsuit... 2 stars
10/23/01 Tam Some truly funny moments, like Bullock's makeover. Loved the ending. 4 stars
10/17/01 Hum pleasant way to waiste some time 3 stars
10/02/01 Kirk Amusing. 4 stars
9/29/01 Steve Sororis the worse Bullock film ever 2 stars
9/28/01 RK Not worth the ticket. 2 stars
6/23/01 Justin Cheung Totally hilarious! Sandra Bullock does one hell of a job with this movie! 5 stars
6/09/01 Turtle I couldn't stop laughing! Sure it's but predictable, but it's hilarious! 4 stars
6/02/01 Fr Ozarks Sandy's Super! 5 stars
5/15/01 Monday Morning Sandra is a little too precious. She should take her shirt off once in a while. 3 stars
5/10/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Cute satiric take on the Miss America pageants, Bullock reminds me of me...*L* 4 stars
5/07/01 The Bomb 69 predictable but funny nonetheless 4 stars
4/19/01 Tam Loads of fun, challenged the stereotype of the shallow beauty queen 4 stars
4/11/01 Spetters The only reason that i did not fall asleep while watching this was Sandra. 2 stars
4/07/01 Kay wonderful! All Bullock Fans should see this! 4 stars
4/01/01 ~*Co_Co*~ Pretty good, predictable, but funny, Benjamin Bratt was so gorgeous! 4 stars
3/19/01 viking Sandra's best film since "While you were sleeping" 4 stars
3/17/01 fahrbot Absolutely hilarious. I was laughing basically the whole time. 5 stars
2/24/01 Marissa Hilarious 4 stars
2/21/01 Rich It's okay; Sandra carries the film. 3 stars
2/19/01 nick sandra bullock is the hottest 5 stars
2/19/01 Miss. Congeniality Sandra Bullock and the whole cast were AWESOME! 5 stars
2/14/01 whoa!!! whoa!!! 4 stars
2/13/01 Hung Sandra Bullock is so awesome...she did a great job in that movie 5 stars
2/11/01 Monique Sandra Bullock is awesome in the movie, she makes audiences love her 5 stars
2/09/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi It was a cute popcorn movie. I totally dug the "before" Sandra's attitude. >=) 4 stars
2/08/01 WORD_OF_WISDOM sandra's sexy 5 stars
2/02/01 Elladan An action comedy with no action that's not funny. 1 stars
1/29/01 Nic I don't care what anyone else says, this movie was freakin' hilarious! 5 stars
1/28/01 Gavin Moore The perfect date movie. Guys will like it too. 4 stars
1/22/01 Uncommon Sense Cute & entertaining. 5 stars
1/09/01 Kimberly C. This movie was so good and so funny. Sandra can make any movie a good one no matter what. 5 stars
1/07/01 Jenny-My-Fur it is a fun movie, total date movie 4 stars
1/04/01 Lane cool 4 stars
1/04/01 Zavon I loved it. Agood laugh all around.. 4 stars
1/04/01 Richard Schulte all the ditsy models are a great effect 4 stars
1/03/01 Paul Jensen A fun movie 4 stars
12/29/00 Seven Hysterical, light comdey. Sandra is amazing 5 stars
12/25/00 poetchuck All the best parts were shown in the previews 2 stars
12/25/00 Kevin The Movie May not be heavy writing but it made me laugh and in thats a good thing. 4 stars
12/24/00 Carter Light, fun and entertaining! Will see again! 4 stars
12/24/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble A few years ago, wasn't this movie called Miss Firecracker? 3 stars
12/23/00 Qui-Gon The radio station give away night was half empty, half of the audience left 45 minutes into 1 stars
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  22-Dec-2000 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Mar-2005


  15-Mar-2001 (M)

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