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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Edition No 894 

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MISS CONGENIALITY 2: ARMED AND FABULOUS

SYNOPSIS:
Since her beauty pageant experience and subsequent profile, FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) is finding it hard to maintain her anonymity doing undercover work. Her boss Agent McDonald (Ernie Hudson) tells her she can have avoid the inevitable desk job, if she does the talk show circuit and becomes 'the face of the FBI'. So with stylist Joel (Diedrich Bader) and bodyguard/partner Sam Fuller (Regina King), with whom she instantly clashes, she trades her boots for stilettos. When pageant queen Cheryl Frazier (Heather Burns) and MC Stan Fields (William Shatner) are kidnapped, Gracie is sent to Las Vegas to handle the publicity, but when she sees the investigation going nowhere, takes action to save her friends.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's called Armed and Fabulous, but Miss Congeniality 2 has none of the wit and charm of the original. Armed with little except Sandra Bullock, this sequel topples over from heavy-handed attempts at humour and a ludicrous plot. It wouldn't matter that the storyline were far-fetched if the characters were true to themselves and we believed in them. But Bullock's rough diamond FBI agent Gracie Hart is nothing but a caricature and we the audience are treated like fools.

Since her make-over for the beauty pageant in the first film, Gracie has slipped back to her old uncouth self, splashing ketchup on her shirt and laughing with an ungainly piggy snort. The only difference now, is that she is so well known, even Japanese tourists recognise her and bank tellers ask her for an autograph during a stake-out. A difficult position to be in, if you are working undercover, and her boss Agent McDonald (Ernie Hudson) suggests she might like to use her new profile to chat about the FBI on Oprah. Of course she needs a stylist and limp-wristed Joel (Diedrich Bader) is assigned, replacing Michael Caine, who wisely did not sign on this time. But there's no make-over, just a jump in time, to 10 months later, when Gracie is wearing suits, pearls, serious auburn streaks and planting imaginary kisses on everyone's cheeks. It's impossible to believe this immaculately groomed, conceited starlet with designer bags was ever the likeable, down-to-earth Gracie Hart, and looks suspiciously like a glammed-up Sandra Bullock.

Next, there's a token reunion between Gracie and her old pageant friends Cheryl (Heather Burns) and Stan (William Shatner), before we hear they have been kidnapped in Las Vegas. Gracie and team head for the desert for a press conference, but she ends up leading the rescue operation after escapades in a retirement home (where she is disguised as an old biddy), and a star-look-alike drag club. Regina King is wasted as Gracie's partner/body-guard who has anger issues, and the attempts at turning the film into a buddy movie fails miserably.

The humour is misplaced with lines like 'We got an agent down - we need a tampon' and 'Do you have a euthanasia program?', while the skit chasing Dolly Parton is plain embarrassing. Even the lead up to the finale in the drag club falls flat when Grace wears a yellow lycra Big Bird costume with crimson feathers and diamantes to King's Tina Turner silver sequined mini. It's colourful, but I'm sorry to say there's little to recommend Miss Congeniality 2. Sandra Bullock should have known better.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

SANDRA BULLOCK INTERVIEW

MISS CONGENIALITY 2: ARMED AND FABULOUS (M)
(US)

CAST: Sandra Bullock, Regina King, Enrique Murciano, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, Heather Burns, Diedrich Bader, Treat Williams

PRODUCER: Sandra Bullock, Marc Lawrence

DIRECTOR: John Pasquin

SCRIPT: Marc Lawrence

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Menzies Jr.

EDITOR: Garth Craven

MUSIC: Randy Edelman, John Van Tongeren

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Maher Ahmad

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 24, 2005







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