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Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)

Miss Congeniality 2

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 115 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

Okay, okay, I’ll 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 I’ll be a ‘Planet of the Apes’ cast-member’s 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 she’s 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 bureau’s image – and it’s all going pretty well too, until she finds out that beauty queen pal Cheryl (Heather Burns) has been kidnapped and, wouldn’tcha know it, she wants back in the game.

Where the first movie was carried largely by Bullock’s 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 can’t 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 who’s 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 King’s, the idea doesn’t 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 isn’t 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 I’d like to suggest he might like trying in a lot more of his movies.

It Needs: To make more use of William “Bill” Shatner’s oft-unappreciated comic genius. The guy barely gets more than a couple of lines in this one – and I’m damned if I’m buying his new album just to get the quality Shats-time I’m entitled to.


She might be armed, but there’s nothing fabulous about Agent Gracie Hart in this totally uncalled-for follow-up.