Directed by: Donald Petrie
Written by:Marc Lawrence
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, William Shatner, Candice Bergen
Released: March 15, 2001
Grade: C+

Some make you laugh, some make you cry, some give you an adrenaline rush and some send a chill down your spine.  On the other hand, there are some films that are mind-numbingly boring and Miss Congeniality is a perfect example.  The film’s elements are necessarily bad but there's just nothing there to watch.  I finished my popcorn in 10 minutes and washed it down with a refreshing beverage in the next 5.  For the remaining 94 minutes, I moved my legs and scratched myself (not concurrently) every now and again.  Sucked into an emotional void, my facial expression never changed.

Let me set the scene.  Sandra Bullock is Gracie Hart, an unlady-like FBI agent.  She cares little about her appearance and is well trained in martial arts.  Given she’s a woman, Gracie finds it hard to fit in at the Bureau and often misses out on the top assignments.  That Bureau’s top job at the moment involves a mysterious assailant responsible for a spate of bombings which have been preceded by a note revealing clues to its location.  Gracie seems to have cracked the code of the latest letter in believing the target will be the Miss America beauty pageant but fellow agent Eric Matthews (Bratt) is selected to lead the task force.

The only way to protect the contestants will be to have someone on the inside and the only person suitable for the job is Gracie.  After a discussion with pageant hosts Stan Fields (Shatner) and Kathy Morningside (Bergen), she’s entered in the contest as Miss New Jersey.  How so you ask?  Well it so happens that the FBI has found that the real Miss New Jersey stared in porno film, Armagonnagedidon, and that wouldn't look too good if exposed, would it?

With only two days to prepare, fashion consultant Victor Melling (Caine) is called in for the toughest job of his career.  He transforms Gracie from "dirty Harriet" into a starlet with a chance of going all the way in the contest.  Not only that, her new found beauty has captured the attention of Agent Matthews.

I've wasted enough time already so I'll keep it brief from here.  It's a totally zany, crazy plot that didn't give me that zany, crazy feeling.  It's limited too much by the boundaries it creates and none of the actors have a chance to shine.  Beauty pageants are mocked in many movies and to have this entire film based around one, didn't provide enough original material.  Even more patronising was watching Sandra Bullock learn just how great and intelligent the contestants were - they're not the "bimbos" she envisioned.

Film critics must look forward to reviewing Sandra Bullock movies because they are so easy to criticise.  Her previous five leading films have been Speed 2, Hope Floats, Practical Magic, Forces Of Nature and 28 Days.  Not one of the films was worth of more than a C+ in my book and Miss Congeniality continues the trend.  At first I believed that Sandra was receiving some bad career advice from her agent but now I'm not so sure.  Sandra Bullock is credited as a producer of this film which gives me an even lesser opinion of her - how could she read this script and agree to both star and produce!  Total madness!!!

"Miss Sandra Bullock, you are before this court charged with being a cinematic nuisance."

"I wish to plead insanity.  I mean just look at every film I've made in the past five years."

"Enough said!  There is nothing left to prove.  Case dismissed."