4/5* Siobhan Divers | Shiv’s Show
Dir: Donald Petrie
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Mary Ashleigh Green, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, John DiResta, Candice Bergen.
Princess Diaries meets 21 Jump Street, Miss Congeniality provides action, humour, a compelling plot, and a catchy soundtrack.
After making a mistake while undercover, FBI tomboy agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) is banned from fieldwork so when a terrorist threatens to attack the Miss USA Beauty Pagent and an undercover agent is required, Gracie is the last person to be considered for the job. However, as the only available female agent who could look the part, after extensive beauty treatments and advice from consultant Victor Melling (Michael Caine), she undergoes a complete Pagent makeover resulting in an impressive transformation.
Despite being cynical about the Pagent: she refers to the event as ‘catering to some mysogynistic neanderthal mentality’ and rejecting feminism, the film celebrates friendship and women’s choice.
From its name, Miss Congeniality could easily be mistaken for a typical ‘chick flick’ however from the beginning of this film it is clear this is not the case. After wrecklessly driving across town, Gracie flashes her FBI badge to avoid paying a parking ticket before using it to skip the line at a coffee shop.
Supported by an impressive cast and a witty script, Bullock shines as an underrated and undermined female agent.
As the leading character however, Bullock gives an exceptional performance however the performance of Michael Caine cannot be ignored as he steals the show in a number of scenes. When he is first introduced to Gracie and is tasked with making her look presentable and behave gracefully within 48 hours, he says: “If you are Gracie Hart I quit here and now.”
With great one-liners, memorable quotes and a great cast, Bullock stars in and produces a modern classic.
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