Miss Congeniality 2
Running Time: 115 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a
Country: United States
Okay, okay, Ill admit it as chick-flicks go, I thought the original Miss Congenialty was alright. It had a bit of originality to its premise, was competently directed by Donald Petrie, and featured Sandra Bullock in a role as the cynical, sarcastic FBI Agent Gracie Hart that she was perfect for. But Ill be a Planet of the Apes cast-members uncle if I can think up such positive an array of comments to make about this horrendously ill-advised sequel.
Picking up just three weeks after the 2000 flick left off, we rejoin Hart as she struggles to slip back into the kind of anonymity which as you might have guessed – tends to be fairly important when you work undercover. You see, it seems shes become something of a celeb since busting the beauty pageant bad guys last time round, and her newfound fame is proving problematic to say the least. So boss Harry McDonald (Ernie I used to be a Ghostbuster, you know! Hudson) packs her off to work the chat-show circuit and boost the bureaus image and its all going pretty well too, until she finds out that beauty queen pal Cheryl (Heather Burns) has been kidnapped and, wouldntcha know it, she wants back in the game.
Where the first movie was carried largely by Bullocks frothy, tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the miserable man-hating Hart, this time the character has been mangled beyond all recognition and the movie, as a result, is a dud. Writer Marc Lawrence cant seem to decide whether he wants her to be obsessed with her looks or the exact opposite, and as a result she becomes a confused character whos impossible to get to grips with. By way of an apparent compromise, Regina King is drafted in to fill the shoes Bullock previously occupied, as the Feds resident Little Miss Unapproachable. Through no fault of Kings, the idea doesnt work, and as things drag on (in more ways than one, cross-dressing fans!) it grows increasingly obvious that this franchise should have been left in the singular.
It's Got: One saving grace in the fact that Benjamin Bratt isnt involved this time. His character does manage to both dump Gracie AND get a new job in Miami, but he does it all conveniently off-camera - an approach Id like to suggest he might like trying in a lot more of his movies.
It Needs: To make more use of William Bill Shatners oft-unappreciated comic genius. The guy barely gets more than a couple of lines in this one and Im damned if Im buying his new album just to get the quality Shats-time Im entitled to.
She might be armed, but theres nothing fabulous about Agent Gracie Hart in this totally uncalled-for follow-up.