MISS CONGENIALITY


2000

DIRECTOR: Donald Petrie

This was a surprisingly good comedy drama following tomboy FBI Agent, Gracie Hart, Sandra Bullock, as she goes undercover in the Miss United States Pageant to catch a killer. This is what it is. It is not a tightly crafted crime thriller which will keep you guessing as it is obvious from the get go, who the killer is and the film itself,  in a well judged move, reveals the murderer about half way through, understanding that this isn’t the point.

The point is that it is a straight forward character comedy, with “fish out of water”, Bullock, stomping her way through the bitchy world of pageants and learning along the way that abject femininity is not dumb, and that she will become a fuller person by embracing her feminine side. Blar, blar blar…

But I feel that it was a simple and great performance by Michael Caine, who can’t really let us down. He plays the slightly camp Beauty Queen groomer who is tasked with turning Gracie into not just a potential winner but a woman full stop. It’s this plot point that harks back most to My Fair Lady, a clear influence of this narrative.

Despite its many clichés, I found this to be a well conceived film that sold itself on its title and delivered just that.

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